1990-12 December 1990 Newsletter

December 1990 Newsletter


Wines evaluated last month: 219 Rejected: 174 Approved: 45 Selected: 2

From our family to yours, the Wine of the Month Club wishes you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. We hope 1991 brings world peace and prosperity for everyone.

A note for new members: Each December we feature two wines that will complement the holidays. One is a sparkling wine to bring in the New Year, the other a fortified or late harvest wine to enjoy after dinner. Both styles are important in the wine industry and we know you will find these selections in the Holiday spirit.

The domestic selection this month is our first holiday wine featured from Washington state. At a recent tasting, I was caught in embarrassing disbelief when they told me the price of this wine. Al¬most all Late Harvest wines are over $10.00 bottle and that's only for 375m1. (half bottle). We rec-ommend you enjoy this wine after dinner with your favorite dessert.

The import this month is from France where in the region of Bor¬deaux this crisp, clean sparkler was found.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.


Late Harvest Riesling, '89. Snoqualmie Pg. 2
Chamdeville. NV Brut Pg. 3
A Recent Trip to Sonoma 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


Snoqualmie Winery is one of Washington State's on-rush of good new wineries. Founded in 1983, it released its first wines in mid-summer 1984. The winery is located 27 miles east of Seattle close to the town of Snoqualmie (the winery quips this translates as "Twin Peaks"). This facility cur-rently only serves for an ageing cellar, tasting room, and business office, as in 1986, Snoqualmie Winery's parent company, Sno-qualmie Falls Holding company Inc., acquired the Saddle Mountain Winery in Mattawa, Washington. This latter facility is a state-of-the-art winemaking center combining the latest technology and equip¬ment with a capacity of over 800,000 gallons. Many experts consider it to be one of the finest facilities in the nation. Both Sno¬qualmie and Saddle Mountain brand wines are crushed and fer¬mented at this winery all under the guidance of seasoned enologist Joe Norman, a U.C. Davis graduate with broad experience in all facets of wine making. His prior credits include (amongst others), work at Fetzer Vineyrds (high quality table wines), RMS Vineyards (excellent brandies), and John Culbertson Winery (premium sparkling wines).

The grape from which this dessert wine is made has been made is known in Germany, its original homeland, simply a "Riesling." In the U.S. it goes un¬der either Johannesburg Riesling or White Riesling interchangeably. Some wineries, like Snoqualmie, call their drier Riesling by one name and their sweeter by the oth¬er. The fact that this label shows "Late Harvest" tips you that is of the sweeter designation. Every riesling producer whether here or abroad has the burning desire to make a luscious dessert wine show-piece, despite the severe hazards involved. With the weath¬er around Seattle being wet, riskily leaving fruit to ripen further on the vine for many weeks beyond normal harvest (thus "late harvest") opens the door to any number of possible snafus. Successful efforts like this one are considered great rarities.

The color is brilliant pale gold tinted with green. Fragrances of Bartlett pears, peach, and vanil¬la rise intensely from the glass. It is big and ripe on the palate with subtle apricot and fruit cocktail fla¬vors. A deliciously tangy aftertaste leaves you wanting more. Serve moderately chilled with melon, fresh fruit, or Christmas cookies.

Cellaring Notes: Drink now through 1993.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

#1290A Regular Price: $7.19/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.60/ea. 22.11% disc. $67.20/cs.


This is that bubbly time of year when men and women's fancies, young and old, turn to thoughts of Champagne. Whoops! Watch the use of that word.

Chamdeville is produced in France (in Bordeaux, actually) but outside the strictly de-limited re¬gion legally entitled the name "Champagne." It must therefore go by the less recognizable handle "Vin Mousseux" ("foaming wine"). There are other differences other than the geographical source. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which are predominate in Champagne, is Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc in Chamdeville Brut. The former is grown in the Loire Valley and con¬tributes the fresh bouquet and frui¬ty highlights, while the latter comes from an area called Cha¬rente, the home of Cognac, and provides acidity and structure to round this wine. Further distinc¬tion comes in the method of pro¬duction. Where as the all-in-the-bottle "methode champenoise" method of fermentation (invented by the famous blind monk Dom Perignon) is mandatory in the Champagne region, Chamdeville's producers are able to employ the Cuvee Close" process which yields similar results at a fraction of the cost. Roger Maury (wine-maker) and Kim Hartman (master blender) use the theory that if the second bubble-inducing fermenta¬ tion works well in the bottle, it could also work well in a larger pressurized vessel. Still wine is pumped into stainless steel pres¬sure tanks. Yeast and sugar are in¬troduced to start the second fer¬mentation; source of the desired petulance. When this completes, the wine is settled, transferred off its sediment, and moved into a holding tank prior to bottling. All these processes take place under pressure to ensure the bubbles re¬main trapped in the wine. This method is capable of producing good, clean sparkling wine with tiny pinpoint bubbles.

Chamdeville is a fine example of what is capable of the "Cuvee Close" method. It has a clear pale greenish yellow color with plenty of "mousse"(foam) when you pour it and enticingly small bubbles. A fresh, fruity yet chalky nose pre¬cedes the creamy, clean fruity but dry taste. It is smooth, balanced and light to medium in body. It finishes pleasantly dry. Serve iced with party hor's d'oeuvres or our favorite fluffy omelette. Great for Mimosas!

Cellaring Notes: Enjoy now and through summer 1991.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

#1290B Regular Price: $6.99/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.59/ea. 20.02% disc. $67.08/case


Lately I have received a num¬ber of phone calls wanting to dis¬cuss recent trips to northern Cali¬fornia for wine tasting and relaxation. I thought I would de¬scribe my most recent trip to the Sonoma Valley in search of wine and rest.

Both my wife (Sandra) and I have been working very hard this year, and with two tragedies in her family in 1990 the stress had also taken its toll. One night she said "I need a vacation, why don't you surprise me?" I replied "Of course, dear" and went to sleep. The more I thought the more she was right, so I booked the two of us for 5 days at the Sonoma Mission Inn in the Sonoma Valley. I also booked another couple, Al and Diane Ca-braloff, to join us. Round trip air fare to Oakland Airport was only $60.00 and our rental car was only $159.00 for the week. This left more of the budget to spend on fa¬cials, massages and herbal wraps.

Boy, did I do right. The Sono¬ma Mission Inn, if you have never been there, has got to be the most relaxing destination a stressed out, worked out, drained out, couple can go. The whole environment re¬quires you to slow down, stop and take a breath. The rooms are well appointed, the personnel charming and the food exquisite.

Sunday was our first day of tasting and we decided to just start and go up the road. First stop was Kenwood Winery where we en-joyed a slice of cranberry cake and gorgeous Late Harvest Reisling.

This wine had honey like scents that followed right through the pa¬late with a nice clean finish. Next stop was Chateau St. Jean. They were only pouring whites that d4 and found their Fume Blanc and Gewurztraminer to be of particular interest. Sometimes the wineries will only pour certain wines for any given day. Outside of Calisto¬ga, you can pick up the Silverado trail and drive into the Napa Val¬ley. The wineries are endless and I would advise you to pre-select your stops or you may never get to the end. Robert Sinskey has a charming winery and some won¬derful Pinot Noir. While in Napa, try and schedule dinner at Tra Vigne in St. Helena. This has to be one of the most wonderful Italia, dining experiences ever. Just dip¬ping their fresh Italian bread in freshly poured olive oil was spe¬cial. Make reservations.

The following day was fun when we visited some of our friends at the wineries the club has featured in the past. Hacienda in Old Town Sonoma had a nice complement of wines, notably their Dry Chenin Blanc. The folks at Merry Vintners were gracious and poured their current vintages of Chardonnay. We tasted some barrel samples at White Oak (Healsdburg) for their upcoming Chardonnay release. Three days to recover then on to the airport.

In the January newsletter I will be writing specifically out about our accommodations in Sonoma.


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.


R. Madeira, 3 Islands Lonz Winery. No change. Should not improve.

W. Chardonnay Brut, Cavit. Oxidizing. Should use.


R. Port of the Vintage,'83.Quady. No change. OK to keep.

W. Brut Zero.'82.Castellblanch. Oxidized. Use


R. Cream Sheny, n.v. Osborne. No change. Does not improve on age.

W. Napa Valley Brut,'86.Barons. Lost its fruit and complexity. Use.


R. Spinnaker Port,NV.H&M. No Change. Will not improve but will hold.

W. Clair Diamant,NV. Softened slightly. Lost some fruit. Use.


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Adventures in Eating

By Rosemarie

The season is upon us, and one of my favorite no effort pastimes is to ask people if they arc to be the chef of the day. If the answer is affirmative, I then ask what they will be serving their guests. I never fail to get a big smile and a list of what always sounds delectable (especially if I am not the one to do the work).

Julian, where we now live, is known as mountain "apple country". Back in the 1840's, it was a gold min¬ing town, and at one time, $70,000,000 dollars worth of gold was taken from our hills. By the turn of the century, however, the existing gold was too costly to mine, so folks who thought to stay here, changed di¬rections.

Some went into ranching, as pasture lands are plentiful and, one enterpris¬ing fellow, decided to plant apple and pear trees. We still have several varie¬ties of pears that are grown, but ap¬ples are what draw people to our com¬munity. During apple days, which starts in October, up to 8,000 people will be roaming the 4 blocks of Main street on a given weekend.

You will see them walking around town, arms loaded carrying boxes of freshly baked apple pies.

One establishment will sell up to 3,000 pies on one of those weekends. There are 7 pie companies in our little town of 1400 population, and all seem to be doing well.

We do have one manicurist in Julian, and during my visit with her, I asked if she was hosting her family for Thanksgiving. "Yes", was her answer and the next question followed. The "piece de resistance" was the dessert. Apple pie from the Julian Pie Company. Therefore, my mind went into gear. Had she ever served this lovely pie with a sauce? This caught her in¬terest, and so I share the recipe I gave her with you. It is equally good over mincemeat pie. This can be made 2 days ahead.


(About 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbls. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup water
3 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbls. butter
1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water. Cook over. low heat until mixture thickens and becomes clear, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice, butter, and lemon peel. Serve hot or warm over pud-dings, pies, cakes, etc.

VARIATIONS: hot rum sauce: reduce lemon juice to 1 tbls., omit peel, and stir in 3 tbls. rum or brandy with but¬ter. Serve on hot ginger bread. Add raisins to sauce while cooking in both variations. Great over bread pudding. Have a grand time!

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

1290A Late Harvest Riesling,'89.Snoqualmie Reg. Price $ 7.19 22.11% disc. $ 67.20/case $ 5.60/each
1290B Chamdeville Brut, NV Reg. Price $ 6.99 20.00% disc. $ 67.08/case $ 5.59/each
1190A Cabernet Sauvignon,'87. Hawk Crest Reg. Price $ 7.75 20.00% disc. $ 74.40/case $ 6.20/each
1190B Coltibuono Bianco,'89. La Badia Reg. Price $7.25 20.00% disc. $ 69.60/case $ 5.80/each
1090A Pinot Blanc,'88.Paraiso Springs Reg. Price $7.95 22.53% disc. $ 74.28/case $ 6.19/each
1090B Wintervine,'88. Reg. Price $6.95 20.89% disc. $ 66.00/case $ 5.50/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $ 19.95/ea. $ 2.50 shpng

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