1990-08 August 1990 Newsletter

August 1990 Newsletter


Wines evaluated last month: 296 Rejected: 241 Approved: 55 Selected: 2

The Sonoma County has been quite popular with the Club this year. Our recent trip had uncov¬ered some real bargains. If you are planning a trip to Sonoma we highly recommend the Sonoma Mission Inn. The accommodations and the food are exquisite, Last time up, we stumbled across this Sauvignon Blanc that we just looked at each other and said "We will take it...." We were more con¬vinced when they told us the price. Hacienda 1988 Sauvignon Blanc is this months domestic white selection.

Chianti, Chianti, Chianti.... It was our intention to bring you a Chianti (remember Castello D'Albolla 2/90B ?) this year if we had to taste every one that is made. We found one! This is a D.O.C.G. from Castello di Gabbi¬ano. This castle has roots dating back to the 12th century! (details on page 4). An excellent example of the 1988 vintage from Italy and real bargain too....


Sauvignon Blanc,'88 Hacienda Pg. 2
Chianti,'88 Castello di Gabbiano Pg. 3
Portugal Report (Part I) 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 D, Arcadia, CA 91066. or call (818) 445-8281 … FAX (818) 445-8361

SAUVIGNON BLANC, 1988. HACIENDA Saw-veen-yawn Blonk

The Hacienda Winery is a family business. In days of take¬overs and large company buyouts, it is refreshing to find quality wines from a winery owned and operated by the family.

In 1879 the Cooley family moved west from Ohio in search of their share of the Gold rush. And as luck would have it, the family settled in Cloverdale and became farmers; planting prunes citrus, and most importantly, grapes.

This family background made a transition easy for Crawford Cooley. You see, in 1959 Craw¬ford (Founder and President of Hacienda) was partner in a high tech venture capital company that dissolved in 1967. Rekindling his family roots, he proceeded into the grape growing business.

Hacienda Winery was founded in 1973 in the Sonoma Valley, the southern portion of Sonoma County. What is now the winery was originally constructed as a Hospital in 1926. It is surrounded by the historic vineyard site of Count Agoston Harazathy's (the father of modern California viti¬culture) first commercial vine plantings of 1857.

The winery employs a philoso¬phy of using both estate grown and purchased grapes to produce its wines. Each lot from the vary-ing vineyards is fermented and aged individually and then blended later to ensure the highest level of control of the final product. By doing this, winemaker Eric Lau-man is able to maximize the nose, taste, and feel of each of his wines.

Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile grape and can be grown virtually anywhere. The primary white grape of Bordeaux and the Loire Valley of France it is grown from Hungry to Chile to the United States with great success. Capable of producing wines of great flavor and complexity there are two bas-ic styles. The Craves style of Bordeaux is dry, grassy and herbaceous. The Fume' style of the Loire is dry, floral, and full bod¬ied.

Our selection is Fume' in style and shows a color of straw gold with light, but brilliant tones. The nose is flowers, apples and plums. The taste begins with fruit explo¬sion and turns to a full-bodied wine with a hint of oak. The finish is dry with lingering fruit flavors. Serve slightly chilled with poultry dishes and vegetables. Poached fish would be a nice complement.

Cellaring Notes: Drinking very nicely now. May mellow and complex one more year.

#890A Regular Price: $7.79/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.49/ea. 29.52% disc. $65.88/cs.

CHIANTI, 1988. CASTELLO di GABBIANO Key-on-tea Gaa-bee-ya-no

If, from all the pictures, car¬toons, TV documentaries and books logged in your memory you were to imagine a medieval castle with jutting towers and classic parapets, you would be seeing Castello di Gabbiano (Castle of Gabbiano). According to archives, this romantic castle dates back to the twelfth century, rich with his¬tory and family feuds that would make daytime soaps look logical.

Surrounded by green country¬side, olive trees and vineyards the castle has a tall tower in the cen¬ter, flanked by four smaller towers in each corner. Each family that inhabited the castle was able to maintain control for centuries. Fi¬nally, in the 16th century, the pop¬ular Soderini family chose to fight the illustrious and upcoming Med¬ici family. The Soderinis lost and were forced to leave Tuscany. Castello di Gabbiano was aban¬doned and left to ruin.

Today, the castle has been re¬stored and the vineyards are flou¬rishing again.

The Tuscany region; more de¬fined, the Chianti designation, produces wines that are closely monitored by the government. Different designations are re¬quired for the varied levels of quality. "D.O.C.G." means that samples of the wine have been tasted by a panel of officials all through the vinification process and has passed strict requirements to receive the designation.

The origin of grapes for this months selection are vineyards in the northwestern part of the Chi¬anti Classico region. The area named as S. Casciano Val di Pesa actually boasts vineyards in both the Chianti and Chianti Classico designations. This area produces moderately fragrant Chianti with lots of fruit and body.

Compared with other Chianti produced by Gabbiano this "D.O.C.G. White Label" has more Sangiovese and Canniolo grapes blended with less Trebbiano and Malvasia. This blend makes the wine more youthful, consistent with the wines from S. Casciano.

Our selection shows a color of ruby red to garnet. The nose has blackcurrants with a hint of flow¬ers and berry. The flavor is very true to the nose. Lots of blackcur¬rants and berries. The grape flavor is very fresh. The finish is dry with a nice lingering berry taste. A nice example of a Chianti from this northwestern region.

Serve with any red pasta dish or rack of lamb with basil.

Cellaring Notes: Drinks wonder-ful now but will age 2-3 years while mellowing.

#890B Regular Price: $7.20/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.75/ea. 20.14% disc. $69.00/case


Here is the gist of a typical conversation that has repeated it¬self during the last year between Paul Jr. and myself (Sr.), since I moved to Julian (It is usually the following sequence of events).

Paul Jr. goes to a trade tasting sponsored by a distributor, and does his thing of tasting every wine at each station. (A tedious process at best... reach for a short pour, look, swirl, sniff, sip, swish, and spit... for up to about 60 wines (in 2 hours)... then rest the palate for 15 minutes... and do the next 60 wines by closing time of the four hour event. Sometimes less than 120 wines, and at other times more than 120 wines if the day is going easy in that 4 hour session. During the whole process, one chews on a piece of bread, in be¬tween wines, to clear the palate (I have often consumed the equival¬ent of a full loaf of bread by the end of the event... all the time avoiding cheese accompaniment, which is often available but masks the finer points of flavor).

From his list of wines that he has approved of, he arranges for a bottle to be shipped to our tasting room in Arcadia This retaste is not included in our monthly count. There, he tastes them again, at a less pressured pace. He "nitro¬gens" his favorite selections, and ships them to Julian.

U.P.S. seems to find my drive¬way in the Cleveland National Forest daily. (By now the driver must think I will be needing a liv¬er transplant any day!). He usual- ly delivers around 10 a.m.

After allowing the bottles to rest for an hour, I taste the wines at the best time of day for doing so... the mid-morning period when you senses have been re¬stored to their operating level af¬ter a nights rest, and before they are fatigued from the passing day. Best time to taste wine in my opinion... 10 to 11 a.m. This con¬versation usually follows:

Sr." You have a winner with....'87"
Jr. "Yes... wasn't it great?"
Sr. "You are getting pretty good!"
Jr. "Well... they sure had a lot of junk at the tasting that day!"

What Paul Jr. really meant by the last statement was that it is easy to pick the good ones when there are a lot of mediocre one, around. It is a little tougher to pick them when there are many decent wines in the showing.

He is getting very good. He has picked the last 12 selections solo, with my concurrence thrown in at the end with no hesi¬tation.

Our routine has developed into a ritual, it seems, and I am thank¬ful for the invention of "nitrogen¬ing" the wines... The wines are very intact when retasted a day or two later... and even longer. I wholeheartedly endorse the prod¬uct we use...Wine Life (which hap¬pens to be carbon dioxide and no nitrogen!).

But the best part of all of this is the father to son transition that is in motion and the satisfaction from it! PK Sr.


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.

August 1986

R. Beaujolais-Villages,'85. Claudius Rocher. Lost its fruit. Use.

W. Chardonnay,'84. HMR. Oxidizing. Use.

August 1987

R. Pinot Noir,'83. Heitz Cellars. Peaked, mellowed. Keep or use.

W. Zeltinger Deutchherrenberg,'83.Brrs.Erb. Oxidized. Use.

August 1988

R. Cote du Rhone,'85. Armand Roux. On it's way out. Use.

W. Sauvignon Blanc,'86. Anderson Valley. Complexed. Keep or use.

August 1989

R. Saint Emilion,'83. Ch. Haut Pagaud. Aged and peaked. Use.

W. Chenin Blanc,'88. White Oak. Fruit still there. Use. -------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Adventures in Eating

There is still nothing like a fresh baked cookie, whether with a glass of lovely desert wine, lem¬onade, or fresh milk. Unfortunate¬ly, it takes time to bake up a batch from scratch. That is why I love this old-fashioned "ice box" reci¬pe. It is fast to make and a batch can always be on hand in the freezer.

The recipe is from the St. Alban's School for Boys Cook Book St. Alban's is the boys school at the National Cathedral in Wash¬ington D.C. and my husbands high school alma mater. To honor the school's dietician for forty years, Mary Elizabeth Smith (nicknamed "Mamo"), the school published a cook book of her most beloved recipes.

As far as sweets go, the boys ate well. This recipe is wonderful¬ly simple, yet cooks up delicate and light, almost like a lace cookie if you cut them very thin. The wrapped log of dough can be kept in the freezer. Make a double batch, one to bake and one to keep in your freezer. On a moments no¬tice you can have fresh cookies, to surprise and delight your unex¬pected visitors.

Do not be fooled by the simple ingredients. These are the tastiest oatmeal cookies, very light and thin, and slightly chewy.

1/2 pound butter (you can mix butter and margerine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 scant tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup nutmeats, chopped (pe- cans give the best taste)

Cream butter, add sugars and slightly beaten eggs. Sift together flour, salt, soda, and baking pow¬der. Add these to first mixture and blend well. Lastly, add oatmeal and nutmeats. Batter should be stiff enough to roll into a log. Shape in wax paper into log 2" in diameter. Refrigerate for easier slicing.

Slice and bake in 325 degree oven. The thinner the slices the more delicate the cookie.

Don't make too many at once, as you'll eat them at one sitting.

Sharon Kalemkiarian-Ottinger

For free membership information write or call Wine of the Month Club® Discovering superb wines since 1972. P.O. Box D, Arcadia, CA 91066 (818) 445-8281 FAX (818) 445-8361

Order Form

890A Sauvignon Illanc,'88. Hacienda Reg. Price $ 7.79 29.52% disc. $ 65.88/case $ 5.49/each
890B Chianti,'88. Gabbiano D.O.C.G. Reg. Price $ 7.20 20.14% disc. $ 69.00/case $ 5.75/each
790A Cabernet Sauvignon,'86. Vanino Reg. Price $11.99 58.4% disc. $ 59.88/case $ 4.99/each
790B Vouvray,'88.Georges Meurgey Reg. Price $7.61 21.29% disc. $ 71.88/case $ 5.99/each
690A Chardonnay, '86. Merry Vintners Reg. Price $14.75 45.8% disc $ 95.88/case $ 7.99/each
690B Zinfandel, '87. San Martin Intl. Srs. Reg. Price $4.19 20.00% disc. $ 40.20/case $ 3.35/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $ 19.95/ea. $ 2.50 shpng

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