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1988-11 November 1988 Newsletter

November 1988 Newsletter


Wines evaluated last month: 389 Rejected: 298 Approved: 91 Selected: 2

No... I have not flipped. This will be a lesson in a varietal that is not commonly seen as such, and an exercise in the crea¬tion of a blended wine to match a class of foods that have become very popular re¬cently... Southwestern cuisine and Tex-Mex foods.

No... the varietal is not called Fajita Red!... give me a break!

I often refer to the food accompaniment aspect of wine. It really is the essence of wine enjoyment. When a food does not have a suitable wine to match it, what is wrong in creating one? That is what has happened here. I will try to vindicate my¬self on page 2.

For the white wine this month... an-other chardonnay from France. A unique one, with enough difference to be classed separately, from southern Burgundy. We have had a good representation of char- donnays as our selections this year. Even though I always bill a chardonnay as a "meal wine", this Beaujolais Blanc could be served as a sipping wine during the "aperitif hour" of any day! (How did you like that new name for the conventional "cocktail hour"?).

E n j o y.


Fajita Red,'85.McDowell Cellars Pg. 2
Beaujolais Blanc,'87.G. Duboef Pg. 3
For Your Holiday Giving Pg. 4
Tasting Notes & Cellar Notes Pg. 5
Adventures In Eating Pg. 6
Wine & Gift order forms Pgs. 7/8

Membership in the Wine of the Month Club is open to anyone with an interest in and an appreciation for superb wines...and excellent wine values. Membership is FREE. For info, write: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde, CA 90274. (213) 534-1980


At one of the trade tastings, earlier this year, the 1985 Grenache by McDow¬ell Cellars attracted my attention. It was a classic example of the grenache varie¬tal. This grape is mostly used as a blend¬ing grape, both in the USA and in Eu¬rope. Only rarely is it offered as a red varietal. It was more commonly made into a jug rosé wine. (skins removed ear¬ly in the fermentation cycle).

As I prepared to feature it for our red wine selection, I was informed by the winery that they were out. They offered their 1987 version... I tasted it. It was on the sweet side and without the balance that the 1985 had demonstrated.

Back to my tasting notes for alter¬nate selections...

...a tip from one of the winery repre-sentatives put me hack on track... A pro-prietary wine named Fajita Red, which they had produced for the restaurant trade, was 1985 Grenache based!

The name threw me... how could I seriously show a wine with such a name?

A little soul searching and policy re-viewing told me... "Paul... you have al¬ways stood for the not the la¬bel, not the name, not the origin, not the pedigree."

So here it is. It tasted very similar to the varietal version of the same year, with a couple of other grapes added for the spiciness being sought by the wine-maker. Very unique and very today...

Here is the Fajita Red story as told by Karen Keehn, proprietor of McDowell Cellars... "During a trip to Harlington, Texas, I was treated to my first authentic Beef Fajita: skirt steak, smoked and grilled to perfection, the sauce (indige¬nous to the area) -- a zesty tomato sauce bursting with flavors of worcestershire, garlic, chili, and even a little soy... these normally combative flavors needed a spe¬cial blend of red wines to complement this type of cuisine. John Bucchsenstein, our winemaker did it! The result? Perhaps the first wine truly created to comple¬ment a category of food styles and sea¬sonings. The color is a beautiful light ruby red; the berry/cherry flavors of the Grenache and Petite Syrah are bright and mouth filling -- The light tannin pro¬vides enough structure to match the sea-soning's strong flavors, (too much would clash with the chili peppers). A touch of sweetness serves to complement the smoky grilled flavors, the garlic, and the saltiness in soy. Finally the crisp acidity peaks all the delicious flavors in both wine and food. In fact it should make any barbequc-type dish taste terrific!"

The blend is: Grenache 75%, Petite Sirah 11%, and Syrah 14%. Well crafted and an objective achieved!

I accede to Karens tasting notes. It is that ever so minimal hint of sweetness and spiciness that does the trick. Serve chilled with barbeque dishes. You will be surprised.

Cellaring Notes: Made for drinking now. Can mellow some for 1-2 years.

#1188A Regular Price: $5.79/ea Member Reorder Price: $4.50/ea 22.28% disc $54.00/cs


You will be tasting a rarity, when you taste this wine. The prolific region of Beaujolais in France produces 99.5% of red wine and only 0.5% of white wine. The region is in the southern part of Bur¬gundy, and its red wines are known throughout the world for being "a wine for everyone and a wine for all seasons". The French say that red Beaujolais wine "brings laughter to the table". It is made from one grape variety - the Gamay. It is the quality "chug-a-lug" red wine of France.

The white Beaujolais is another sto¬ry! The grape is Chardonnay, similar to the other white wines of Burgundy. If there is a resemblance, it could best be compared with its neighbor wines to the north, the white wines of Mâcon. (our club selection for September '88 - St. Veran, was a white Mâcon).

Georges Duboeuf is the leading nég-ociant for Beaujolais wines. A recent newcomer to the scene, he took his first wines to Paris restaurateurs in 1957. They were so impressed with the quality, they not only bought all he had to sell, but asked him for other types of wine as well. Thus the beginning of a skyrocket¬ing career as a negociant. His credo - "Our profession - our calling - is to dis¬cover the best of every vintage, the finest cuvée, the superlative amongst the suc¬cesses." He personally selects each cuvée, thereby giving each bottle a style that's distinctly his own. "I am first and fore-most, a man of wine tasting." (Sounds familiar... yours truly seems to be in the same profession... broader arena!)

Georges has picked a superb example of Beaujolais Blanc in his 1987. Testi¬mony is the 1st Prize award it earned at the Concours de Villafranche en Beaujo¬lais, conducted by the growers them¬selves. This 100% chardonnay wine is a classic. Naturally, vintners from the re¬gions north of Beaujolais will brush aside any reference to white Beaujolais with a "forget it" type of gesture. They have their wares to promote... how could they take this wine seriously, when the dominant Beaujolais is a red wine, and not a threat to their unique and fine char¬donnays of Burgundy and Mâcon. (Mon¬trachets, Meursaults, Chablis', Cortons, Rullys, Pouilly Fuissés, St.Verans, Monthelies, etc.). Let's taste and see...

Our wine is golden greenish yel¬low in color. It has a rich bouquet, for¬ward and intense. The varietal grape aro¬ma has mellowed into a bottle aged bouquet. The taste is rich and intense. It has a fruitiness in the taste that did not show in the nose. The fruit is followed by a robe of buttery flavor that spreads throughout the mouth, and turns to a crisp acidity that lingers in your mouth as a clean finish. Classic unadulterated chardonnay... just marvelous. Serve chilled with pan grilled trout or with filet of sole. Great with goat cheese and crusty French bread.

Cellaring notes: At its best now. Drink in '88/89. Might keep 2 years.

#1188B Regular Price: $8.99/ea Member Reorder Price: $7.00/ea 22.14% disc $84.00/cs


Wine of The Month Club GIFTS

* SEND A WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB GIFT MEMBERSHIP and' you're sending something really different.

Not only the special December Selections will arrive in time for the Holidays, but exciting selections keep right on coming month after month. And… you have maximum value for your gift dollar; because the recipient is reminded each month of your generous gift by the gift card enclosed with the selections and newsletter.

* IT'S SO EASY. You order just once, and the Cellarmaster will deliver a whole parade of beautiful wines. Mind you, these are wines you know and appreciate, because you receive them yourself with your own membership.

With the first gift wrapped delivery, a handsome gift card announces the membership you purchased for the recipient. Your name also appears on each card enclosed in shipments that follow.

* THE PROVED-PERFECT PERSONAL AND BUSINESS GIFT. For, friends, family, employees, customers, business associates - A Club membership is a gilt-edged investment in good will - the unique Holiday gift that keeps you in warm, friendly contact the year around with people important to you, or to your business. It's a family gift - one that goes into the home where every adult can share and enjoy it.

* THE QUALITY YOU CAN COUNT ON. As a member, you are familiar with the contents of the gift and the quality.

*CONVENIENCE YOU APPRECIATE. You can avoid the unpleasant parts of shopping - traffic, parking, crowds, waiting in line - and spare yourself those inevitable little annoyances that go with packing gifts for the mail: finding cartons the right size, packing gifts so they're protected yet not so heavy they cost a fortune in postage. By sending Wine of the Month Club Gifts, you'll make your shopping easier, especially for out-of-town family and friends.

*THE VALUE YOU EXPECT… because you know the contents every month. And… our gift wrapping is handsome. The burgundy color shiny patent paper and gold ribbon are a sight to behold. Each Wine of the Month Club Gift you send is an impressive representative of you.



A report on how previous Wine of the Month Club Selections are faring with age. Obtained from actual tastings of wines under cellar conditions and/or vintner, importer or wholesaler surveys.

Nov. 1984 R. Pinot St. George.San Benito,'78.Chas.LeFranc.Mellowed nicely. Use W. Chardonnay,'83.Valenti. More oxidation. Use

Nov. 1985 R. Cotes du Ventoux,'83.Dm.St.Svr.Most fruit gone. Use W.Chardonnay,'82.Freemark Abbey.Close to peak. Can keep or use.

Nov. 1986 R. Pinot Noir,'85.Clarion. Remember... was not for ageing. Over the hill. W. Chateau D'Ardennes,'85.Fruit lessening. Use.

Nov. 1987 R. Marques de Caceras, 1983. Un.Vt.Vn. Hardly changed. Keep. W. Sauvignon Blanc,'86 Vandervoort.Good fruit.Should be used.


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Adventures in Eating

By Rosemarie

How, when, and where, the name and the food we call Fajita got its start, is unknown to me. Even some verbal re¬search in Mexican restaurants unearthed... nada. To further complicate the matter, I learned that a Fajita in Texas is different than what we call a Fajita in California.

Nevertheless, we now can order siz-zling plates of marinated beef or chicken on large platters, together with crisp, chi¬nese style, veggies. To me it is a confu¬sion of ethnic cuisines. But wait, as you can now tell, we even have a Fajita Red wine. Why not? It's a mixed bag anyway.

With the recipe that follows, you will easily recognize how Texas Fajita is quite different from ours. Thai's why I thought it would be fun to have you ex¬periment with what the panhandle has de¬veloped.


1 cube Imperial Margarine
1 cup tomato sauce
2 oz. Heinz 57 sauce
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Optional: tabasco or cayenne to taste


Melt margarine in saucepan; whisk in to-mato, Heinz, and Worcestershire sauces, and simmer for ten minutes to blend. Season to taste. Transfer to individual bowls before serving.(makes 2 cups)


3 lb flank steak tenderized by the butcher or other equivalent amount of other meats. Grill and smoke meat over fire.


1. Take two handfuls each of hickory (sweet flavor) and mesquite chips (smoky, taste). Soak in a bowl of water for 30 minutes minimum (the longer they're soaked, the better).

2. Build fire in a domed or covered char-coal cooker so meat will be smoked as well as grilled. (Mesquite charcoal is pre¬ferable).

3. When the fire is ready, drain water from chips and put over glowing coals.

4. Put meat on and brush with honey (enough for a light glaze). Wait five min¬utes and coat other side of meat with honey. Depending on your fire, Fajitas should be ready in 15-30 minutes. Serv¬ing: slice meat into cubes, place a bowl of sauce in the center of a platter, and surround with Fajitas. Dip and cat. Very simple and very Texas. I do not see why even small ribs could not be pre¬pared this way.


For free membership information write or call Wine of the Month Club® Discovering superb wines since 1972. P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 534-1980

Order Form

1188A Fajita Red,'85.McDowell Cellars Reg. Price $5.79 22.28% disc. $54.00/case $ 4.50/each
1188B Beaujolais Blanc,'87.G. Duboeuf Reg. Price $8.99 22.14% disc. $84.00/case $ 7.00/each
1088A Gewurztraminer,'86.Clbrne & Chrchl Reg. Price $8.75 21.14% disc. $82.80/case $ 6.90/each
1088B Cabernet Sauvignon,'84.Cousno Mcl Reg. Price $6.75 25.93% disc. $60.00/case $ 5.00/each
988A Runway Red,nv.McLester Reg. Price $4.00 32.50% disc. $32.40/case $ 2.70/each
988B St. Veran,'85.Chateau De Beauregard Reg. Price $13.12 27.59% disc. $114.00/case $ 9.50/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor $19.95/each $ 2.50Shpng

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Wine Gift Order Form


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All Wine Of The Month Club gifts are guaranteed to arrive in perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card.


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