1992-09 September 1992 Newsletter

September 1992 Newsletter


Wines evaluated last month: 121 Rejected: 98 Approved: 23 Selected: 2

What would happen if you took a good year in California, one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma County, a regal grape from the Bordeaux region in France, add in a distinguished mail-order wine club and put them all together? You would get an incredible 1986 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Estates Group of Sebastiani vine¬yards as the September domestic selection in the Wine of the Month Club®.

The Estates Group of Sebastiani was set up to produce the premium vintages of the family owned win¬ery. I was so thrilled to get the op¬portunity to show you one of their wines, that I moved all other can¬didates "out of the way". Taste and enjoy but reorder soon, this one will not stay for long, only 1800 cases of this wine were produced 6 years ago!

Our imported white wine this month takes us to the Languedoc region of France. Here, a concert¬ed effort has been in the works since the early 1980's to become to France what California is to the United States in regards to quality wine production. Enjoy this light¬hearted characteristic white wine from a small Domaine in the South of France.

Salud! P.K. Jr.


Cabernet Sauvignon, '86. Sebastiani Pg. 2
Blanc de Blanc, '90. Dm. Felines Pg. 3
Member Inquiry 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 (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361 WOMC is a California Corporation.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1986. SEBASTIANI Kab-air-naye Saw-veen-yawn, Seh-boss-chee-on-ee

Samuele Sebastiani had been born into a peasant family who toiled in the vineyards of Tuscany, Italy. In 1895, he borrowed mon-ey for his steerage to California. In 1904, Samuele Sebastiani started what was to become California winemaking history.

Today, when you visit the Se¬bastiani Winery in old town Sono¬ma, you will be shown the hand crusher, small basket press and 501-gallon redwood tank used by Samuele to make his first vintage of Zinfandel. One of the few func¬tioning wineries during Prohibi¬tion, Sebastiani stayed alive by producing medicinal and sacra¬mental wines. He also set up a fruit and vegetable cannery next door to the winery to keep up his employment and protect his land investment.

Samuele died in 1944 and was survived by his son August who began to make some changes. He must have been a visionary be¬cause at that point, all Sebastiani's wines were sold off to other bot¬tlers and marketed under different labels. August began bottling his wines under the family name. This gave rise to vintage dating and va¬rietal designation long before the emergence of the sophisticated wine consumer of the 1970's. When the demand for identifiable vintaged wines grew, Sebastiani was the first on the block to fill the bill. August died in 1980 and his oldest son Sam took over through 1986. Sam left to start Viansa Vineyards and August's youngest son, Don stepped in and is current¬ly the head honcho.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the no¬blest of red wine grapes from the Bordeaux region of France. It pro¬duces wines of considerable aging potential and complex character. Our selection this month was vint¬ed by the Sebastiani Estates Group, who is responsible for the winery's premium wine line. This vintage was named after the then three-year-old, Emilia Sebastiani (in fact, she is responsible for the label artistry).

"Emilia" has an intense magen¬ta/purple color that turns brick red at the edges of the glass (showing its age). The nose is full of dried fruit, cherries and oak. The body is medium/full with the cherry fla¬vors coming through wood and earth notes. The finish is full of fruit with softening tannins prom¬ising longevity. Serve at room temperature with barbecue steak or kebab. Would be wonderful with squab or other game birds.

Cellaring Notes: Fairly soft and complex now but will continue to improve through 1996.

#992A Regular Price: $12.00/ea. Special Member Price: $9.99/ea. Member Reorder Price: $7.29/ea. 39.25% disc. $87.48/cs.

BLANC de BLANC, 1990. DOMAINE de FELINES Blawnk duh Blawnk, Doe-mane duh Faye-lean

When, between 1976 and 1984 the authorities of the Languedoc wine growing regions of France set out to change their image, the Herault district was one of the first to accept the challenge.

Long known as France's "wine reservoir", the Languedoc needed a new image. The district of He¬rault uprooted 74,000 acres of vineyard to clear the way for just that purpose. To the wine world, the emphasis on these districts was quantity, quantity, quantity. What is really interesting is that not 15 minutes from the little district of Herault is Montpellier. The city of Montpellier houses France's oldest university and its oldest vineyards. It is the capital of French viticul¬ture (let me explain the difference of "viticulture" and "viniculture" here. Viticulture is the study of the cultivation of the vine; hybrid se¬lection planting, grafting and tending to the grapes. Viniculture picks up where viticulture leaves off; be¬ing the study of the transformation and elaboration of the grape juice into the wine itself). Yet, 14 miles away is the wine region that be¬came known to the country as its "wine reservoir". One of the players in this district's transfor¬mation is the Domaine de Felines.

The Domaine de Felines is owned by the Jean-Marie Cazottes family and is just south of Mont¬pellier. Their wines are crafted by Chateau Petrus trained Marc Du¬bernet (Chateau Petrus currently produces the most expensive wine in the world). Marc is considered one of France's leading oenolo-gists. His approach to making wine in this region is twofold:

1.) Take advantage of the multi¬tude of local grape varieties to create a balanced blend and;
2.) Use modern techniques to create increased fruitiness, ligh¬tened acidity and create a crisp wine of 2-3 year life.

This Blanc de Blanc, "white of whites", is crafted from 5 local grape varieties; Grenache Blanc, Terret (used for vermouth and old¬er brandies), Maccabeu, Piquepoul (also used in Vermouth), and Ugni Blanc (used for Armagnac). It has bright greenish-gold tints of color. The nose is full of citrus fruits with a hint of nuts. The body is light with the citrus flavor coming through and a clean crisp finish rounding out the wine. Not a com¬plex wine, but elegant in its sim¬plicity, well-balanced and refresh¬ing. Serve chilled as an aperitif or with dinner such as grilled chicken or seafood lightly coated with olive oil and herbs.

Cellaring notes: For service now through 1993.

#992B Regular Price: $4.99/ea. Member Reorder Price: $3.59/ea. 28.06% disc. $43.08/cs.


"I have been with the Wine of the Month Club for three years...in the past year I have noticed more 'table wines'...I belong to the club to try new wines and wineries. Not table wines that I have little control of their contents and would be unable to compare vintages". F.C., Santee

This is an interesting note that I received of which the response I wanted to share with everyone. After initial and further research, it seems that no real delineation is made as to the requirement of the labeling "table wine".

From the Wine of the Month Club inventory I found only one consistent variable. All the import¬ed wines we have featured in let's say the last 8 months were labeled with some type of "wine" designa¬tion. Here are some the designa¬tions I saw: Red Table Wine, Red Wine from Tuscany, White Wine from France, White Wine Product of Australia, Red Table Wine and others. However, after searching through the hundreds of samples that are ready for tasting, I found that not all imports were necessari¬ly labeled with this designation. As well, not many of the domestic se¬lections were labeled with this seemingly required designation. I was reading one of the labels of a Chenin Blanc and not one mention of the word wine was to be found anywhere on the label. This per¬plexed me because all wine label¬ing must be approved by the Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco and Fire-arms before the wine can be sold in America. So, I called the B.A.T.F....This is what I uncov¬ered: It is a requirement to put the alcohol content of every wine in a conspicuous place for the public to read. In California, we choose to actually state the content in per-centage points ie. this month's Ca¬bernet Sauvignon is 13.5% alcohol by volume. Had the winery chose to do so, they could have labeled it "table wine". The term "table wine" according to the Federal Government means no less or more that the fact that the wine has between 7 and l4 percent alcohol. Some of the imports I examined listed both the alcohol content and the phrase "table wine", this is a redundant procedure. It is impor¬tant to note that each country and origin of wine has its own set of criteria that allows for differences in the quality of the region from which the wine is produced. Each country is different and in fact the U.S. does not even have this re¬gional quality designation. But as for the mere mention of "table wine", this is only a reference to the alcohol content of what is in-side the bottle. Et is important also to note that "table wine" can refer to vintage, non-vintage, varietal and non-varietal wines. It's what's inside the bottle that counts, not what's on the label. Salud and thanks for the inquiry, please keep them coming, it is lonely in the mail-order business.


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.

Sept. 1988 R. Runway Red, nv. McLester. Oxidized. Use. W. St. Veran, '85. Ch de Beauregard. Austere. Use.

Sept. 1989 R. Pinot Noir Blanc, '89. Geyser Peak. Oxidized. Use. W. Vouvray, '86. Ch. Moncontour. Holding. Use.

Sept. 1990 R. Old Vine #9, nv. Marietta. Holding. Use. W. Black Marlin, '89. Black Opal. Starting to oxidize. Use.

Sept. 1991 R. Corbieres, '88. Ch. Chariot. Nice flavors. Use. W. Chardonnay, '89. White Oak. Nice complexity. Use.


REMINDER If you have changed your address or your credit card #… please let us know. It is hard to track the changes after the fact. Please write or call anytime.

Adventures in Eating

By Leslie Smith

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved to eat cake. I found it much more interesting than ice cream, and rightly so! Cake is at the center of almost any important celebration. Birthdays, weddings, showers, anniversaries, and holidays...could you imagine them without cake?

Usually cakes are decorated ac¬cording to the occasion. Sugar bells for weddings, pink roses for showers and anniversaries, and frosting clowns for children's birthdays. My favorite was a Swan Lake Ballet cake, complete with porcelain ballerinas and a glisten¬ing lake made of mirror.

The only other thing better than a beautifully decorated cake is a delicious beautifully decorated cake. It seems that so few com¬mercial cakes these days are "as good as they look". They so often are dry, artificial tasting, or plain boring!

Mrs. Beasley's (the retail muf¬fin store) makes a chocolate cake that is one of the best I have ever had. It is a dense chocolate cake studded with chocolate chips cov¬ered in a luscious cream cheese frosting.

I have found a simple version of this incredible cake and was surprised to hear the recipe. It in¬cludes a cake mix, something I usually steer clear of! This is the perfect birthday cake.

Chocolate Chip Cake

1 package chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding in the mix
1 small package chocolate fudge instant pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
4 large eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 box powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Dash milk

To make cake; in a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, "'oil, water and eggs. Beat for 5 minutes. Stir in chips. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10" springform pan. Bake in a pre¬heated 350° oven for 50-60 min¬utes. Do not overcook. Cool in pan and then remove. Put cake in freezer for one hour before frost¬ing. For frosting; mix all ingre-dients on high until very smooth. adding milk if necessary for ease of spreading. Spread over chilled cake. Store in refrigerator. Wow!

For free membership information write or call Wine of the Month Club® Discovering superb wines since 1972 P.O. Box D, Arcadia, CA 91066 / (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361

Order Form

992A Cabernet Sauvignon, '86. Sebastiani Reg Price $12.00 39.3% disc. $87.48/case $7.29/each
992B Blanc de Blanes, '90. Dm. de Felines Reg. Price $4.99 28.06% disc. $43.08/case $3.59/each
892A Gewurztraminer, 1991. Columbia Reg. Price $7.29 20.57% disc. $69.48/case $5.79/each
892B Côtes du Rhône, 1990. Moillard Reg. Price $7.69 20.00% disc. $73.80/case $6.15/each
792A Zinfandel, 1990. Cline Cellars Reg. Price $10.00 34.1% disc. $79.08/case $6.59/each
792B Côtes de Gascogne, 1991. Dm. Mage Reg. Price $6.79 20.00% disc. $65.16/case $5.43/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/each $2.50 shpng.

SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $3.00; 6 bottles $6.25; 12 bottles $8.50 Shipping charges slightly higher out or California. □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express _______________________________________________________ Card # Expiration Date PLEASE FILL OUT COMPLETELY _______________________________________________________________________________ Name (Print) Signature _______________________________________________ Recipients must be 21 or older. Address _______________________________________________ City State Zip If shipping address is different please (_____)__________________________(_____)________ write below. Phone (eve.) (day) MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box D, Arcadia, CA 91066 or call (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361 (See reverse side to order wine gifts.)

Wine Gift Order Form


● Thank you gifts ● Housewarming Gifts ● Hospitality gifts ● Wedding gifts ● Anniversary gifts ● Congratulations gifts ● I Love You gifts ● Christmas gifts ● Business gifts ● Mother's Day gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts ● Bon Voyage gifts ● And Anytime gifts!

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


2 Bottles: the 2 current club selections $17*
6 Bottles: assortment of recent selections $47*
12 Bottles (1 case): assortment of recent selections $92*
4 Months subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selections) a month for 4 months $62*
or every quarter for 1 year-specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total). 6 Months subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selections) a month for 6 months $92*
or every other month for 1 year-specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total). 1 Year subscription: 2 bottles every month for the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*