The Sarah Jane English Newsletter: 19th Edition
October 12, 1998
   
Wine NEWS
  • DON BRADY, former winemaker at Cordier Estates/Ste. Genevieve, is now making wine for DELACATO in California. MARK PENNA is the new winemaker at STE. GENEVIEVE.
  • MERIDIAN VINEYARDS had a banner year in wine competitions, winning the most golds in its history. It was the leader in two categories—Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah-- for the most medals awarded in 1998. MERIDIAN received 92 medals, 26 of them gold. "This means we’ve won a grand total of 358 medals to date," says winemaker Chuck Ortman. "I’m astounded and incredibly pleased with the statement this makes about our wines. We’ve been at it for ten years now, and I feel this reflects our experience with our vineyards and our growers."
  • SHAW ROSS International Importers appointed Marc Gutierraz as Northern California Wine Manager.
  • VENTANA, Big Sur, California, was named by the readers of Travel & Leisure magazine as the number two "Best Small Hotel in the World," as well as giving it the highest ranking of any small hotel in North America. Selected hotels were chosen on the basis of location, ambiance, quality of service, guest rooms, and other facilities. Of the top 25 best small hotels in the world (100 rooms or fewer) only two properties in North America were in the top ten: Ventana at #2, and The Little Nell in Aspen at #6. The #1 Best Small Hotel was the Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa.
  • FIDDLEHEAD CELLARS and BERINGER WINE ESTATES (BWE) are equal partners in a joint venture to develop and manage 95 acres of pinot noir vineyard in Santa Inez Valley of Santa Barbara County. They will split the grapes equally at harvest and MERIDIAN Vineyards of BWE will use the fruit in its Pinot Noir program.
  • MENDOCINO COUNTY FAIR Commercial Wine Competition has announced its 1998 awards. Of the 170 wines entered, Zinfandel had by far the most entries (21) of any category. Two wines were awarded a "Double Gold," meaning the judges agreed unanimously: ELIZABETH VINEYARDS 1997 Sauvignon Blanc and HUSCH VINEYARDS 1997 Muscat Canelli. LAZY CREEK VINEYARDS 1997 Gewurztraminer was named "Best of Show White Wine." DOMAINE SAINT GREGORY 1995 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir was named "Best of Show Red Wine." In my article about my June visit to Mendocino County (see 16th Newsletter, Aug. 2) I mentioned LONETREE Vineyards, praising its Sangiovese and Syrah. Both wines won gold medals. Likewise, HANDLEY took seven medals, FETZER garnered six, HUSCH earned a lucky thirteen and PACIFIC ECHO sparkling wines won a gold, silver and bronze. (Mendocino’s ROEDERER ESTATE does not enter competitions).
  • ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY celebrated the 1998 harvest with the 33rd blessing of the grapes on September 4. The annual Blessing of the Grapes, which is open to the public, has been a tradition at the winery since the first harvest in 1966. Late rains and a cold spring resulted in a later harvest this year than previous years. Though overall yields will be slightly lower than 1997’s bumper crop, the grapes are showing signs of exceptional quality. This harvest also coincides with the release of Robert Mondavi’s autobiography, Harvests of Joy (please see next issue for full coverage).
  • CALITERRA has opened its new La Arboleda (means grove) winemaking facility in the Colchagua Valley, one of Chile’s most prestigious winegrowing regions. Caliterra is the joint venture between the families of Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick of Viña Errazuriz in Chile. The facility has the most modern technology available in winemaking today. The gravity-flow-design building, layout of the winemaking facility, vineyard blocks and roads were carefully designed to protect the native trees and wildlife found throughout the property. The 500 acres of red grapes include merlot, carmenère, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, sangiovese and malbec.
  • REMI KRUG was appointed Chairman of the Comité Colbert, an association of 75 luxury companies dedicated to excellence. The position lasts four years. Founded in 1954, the Comité objectives are "to stimulate economic and cultural activities, and to open the doors of the Comité Colbert to the world.


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Australian Southcorp and Californian Paragon Create Seven Peaks

SOUTHCORP WINES, the producer of Australia’s PENFOLDS and LINDEMANS wines and the largest producer and exporter of Australian wines, has joined with PARAGON Vineyard Co., manager of 2,000 acres in Edna Valley, Central Coast CA, to produce and market SEVEN PEAKS wines. The joint venture was launched with the release of the 1996 Seven Peaks Chardonnay, $12. Other wines have release schedules for the fall. The Seven Peaks’ name and package highlight the Central Coast, selected specifically as the core of the joint venture because of the quality and distinctiveness of the wines grown in the area, said Jose Fernandez, president of Southcorp Wines North America and James Niven, president of paragon. The name comes from the seven-peak remnants of weathered volcanic cones that stretch from eastern Edna Valley to Morro Bay. "This is a pairing of the two most dynamic wine cultures in the world—California and Australia—and blends Australian winemaking innovation with California winegrowing skills," said Fernandez.

  • SEVEN PEAKS 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast $12: "ripe red berry, cassis, hint of dark chocolate and mint with supple tannins, spicy vanilla and complexity."
  • SEVEN PEAKS 1996 Shiraz, Paso Robles $16: "bouquet of spicy, peppery Shiraz fruit, richly textured and ripe berry with integrated tannins."
  • SEVEN PEAKS 1996 Cabernet Shiraz Central Coast $16: "rich fruit with spicy ripe plum, chary oak and full-bodied intense berry flavors and red currants with firm tannins."

  • HANDLEY 1996 Pinot Noir $20: "rich and lush with concentrated finish of berries and spice—enjoy with grilled fish, lamb chops with chipotle reduction, roast chicken with garlic." [silver/Orange County Fair; bronze/Mendocino County Fair]
  • HANDLEY 1996 Estate Chardonnay Anderson Valley $16: "apple and citrus blossoms, caramelized pear, and strong citrus finish—salmon cakes (recipe in 17th Newsletter, Aug. 20) [silver/Riverside International; bronze/Mendocino]
  • HANDLEY 1996 Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley $16: "fruity forward, crisp acidity, oak integrated, floral, vanilla, coconut and pear, medium weight, long finish—sautéed snapper with lemon confit sauce." [silver/Cloverdale Fair]
  • HANDLEY 1997 Sauvignon Blanc $12: crisp, medium body, mineral finish, bright citrus and melon, sage hints and smoky oak."
  • HANDLEY 1997 Pinot Gris $16: "floral aromas, orange blossoms, crisp and fresh, good acidic backbone, creamy texture with melon, pear and minerals—vegetable curries, calamari, asparagus salad with spicy aioli, shrimp." [gold/Riverside International; silver/Mendocino]
  • HANDLEY 1993 Brut $20: "toasty vanilla, vibrant lemon and apple, long creamy finish—it’s a natural partner with rich, highly seasoned foods." [gold Los Angeles County Fair and Best of Class; gold/Mendocino]
  • HANDLEY 1997 Gewurztraminer $12: "aromas of rose petals, flavors of peach, grapefruit and cream, crisp and dry—sweet and sour spicy foods like curried prawns and pineapple." [gold/Mendocino]

BERINGER has been producing Cabernet from Knights Valley (declared an AVA in ’83) since 1976, Winemaker Ed Sbragia says; however, "the fruit for the 1995 vintage is predominantly from new plantings and replantings begun in 1989. They incorporate research results to select optimal rootstock, clone, spacing, trellising and vine orientation. . . . closer spacing actually results in less fruit per vine, but it’s more intensely flavored. Knights Valley has warmer temperatures during the day and cooler temperatures at night than neighboring Napa Valley. Its soils, classified as Cortina Very Gravely Sandy Loam, are exceptionally well drained and low in fertility, causing the vines to struggle for water and nutrients and further concentrating the fruit flavors." BERINGER 1995 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $22 has "rich tannins, ripe black cherry, sweet vanilla, spice, roasted coffee/mocha, light herbal aroma, persistent finish."

 
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Petits Châteaux from Seagram Château & Estates with food pairs

Several well-made Bordeaux wines from smaller properties are imported by Seagram and merit your attention. I discovered CHÂTEAU MEYNEY while I was writing VIN VIGNETTES, Stories of Famous French Wines and it certainly encouraged a positive attitude toward my subject. The little castle is located in St. Estephe overlooking the Gironde estuary and is classified a Grand Cru Bourgeois Exceptional. The wine is 70% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot and 10% cabernet franc; fermented in glass-lined vats; aged in large oak casks the first year and barrel aged the second year. As one of the oldest estates in the Medoc, it began in 1662 as a convent. Today the estate stretches over a series of hills which place the first rows of vines close to the Gironde River. It belonged to the same family for several generations until Mr. Daniel Cordier became the owner in 1919. "The 1995 CHÂTEAU MEYNEY Grand Cru Bourgeois Exceptional, $32, is a big wine with good fruit and excellent aging potential and delicious with roast, game and hearty meats."

  • 1995 CHÂTEAU PLAGNAC Grand Cru Bourgeois, $15—in northern Medoc, 74 acres (60% cabernet sauvignon/40% merlot) produce 18,000 cases. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged 12-14 months in large oak casks. "Lively, bright garnet, superb body molded from fleshy tannin, excellent with meat dishes, duck and lamb."
  • 1995 CHÂTEAU GREYSAC Cru Bourgeois, $16—just north of St. Estephe commune in northern Medoc, vineyards slope gently toward Gironde River (40% cabernet sauvignon, 50% merlot, 10% petit verdot). Wine is vinified in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and aged in Limousin oak barrels for 12 months. Baron Francois de Gunzburg, the former president of Barton & Guestier, purchased Chateau Greysac in 1973 and immediately embarked on an extensive replanting of the vineyards and renovation of the chais. Emile Peynaud, renowned professor of enology at the University of Bordeaux, was Greysac’s wine consultant until his retirement. Upon M. de Gunzburg’s death in 1985, his long-time assistant Phillippe Dambrine became general manager and Peynaud’s disciple, Michel Gueraud, now advises the chateau. "Greysac’s style reflects the plantings in the vineyard. It’s medium bodied, supple and fruity when young, subtle and complex with age. A versatile wine, it complements a variety of meat, pork and game dishes."
  • 1995 CHÂTEAU LA CORDONNE Cru Bourgeois, $16—situated on the highest plateau in the Medoc in the village of Blaignan, 309 acres (45% cabernet sauvignon, 50% merlot, 5% cabernet franc) composed of sand and gravel. State of the art winemaking facilities were recently completed. The wine is vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel vats and aged in oak barrels, one-third of which are renewed each year. First planted in the 17th century, the wine domaine was reborn when the owners of Chateau Lafite-Rothchild purchased the property in 1971. In 1993 the chateau was purchased by CGR Domaines, whose youthful and dynamic management includes General Managaer Eric Fabre, formerly technical director of Lafite. "Medium-bodied with a well-balanced finish. The high percentage of merlot and judicious oak aging make La Cardonne elegant and approachable at an early age; however, it reveals its full richness between four to ten years after harvest. Serve with lamb, port, beef and chicken dishes in light sauces."
  • 1995 CHÂTEAU LAROSE-TRINTAUDON Cru Bourgeois, $18—situated on a plateau that borders Pauillac and St. Julien-Beychevelle, appellation Haut-Medoc. The vineyards (60% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 20% cabernet franc), were planted in late 1960s—deep gravel soil resting on a substream of iron. One of the most modern winemaking facilities in Bordeaux, the wines are fermented in stainless steel temperature-controlled vats and aged in small oak barrels, one-third of which are renewed each year. The original estate dates back to 1776. In 1882, its wines were awarded the Silver Medal at the exhibition in Bordeaux and again in 1889 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.—about the time of the construction of the chateau. In the 1920s the vines were pulled out in an unsuccessful attempt at cattle ranching by a wealthy Russian emigre. The estate fell into neglect until 1966 when purchased and refurbished by Henri and Elysse Forner. Emile Peynaud guided the replanting and by 1980 the wines were earning acclaim and became the number one selling Bordeaux in America. In 1986, AGF Insurance became the new owners. "Clean, precise wines, more firm than round. Very typical of the Haut Medoc at its best. "Intense, deep, lively color, ripe tannins, aromas of wild fruits, powerful with remarkable complexity. Serve with mesquite grilled fish, duck, lamb and meat."
  • 1995 CHÂTEAU PUY BLANQUET Grand Cru, $20—situated just east of St. Emilion, 60 acres produce 11,000 cases. This well-known property has always been considered the best of the Grand Cru of St. Emilion. "Its soft fruit and mellow style is supported by an excellent tannic structure. Serve with most meats and poultry, and a perfect companion to mild cheese."
  • 1995 CHÂTEAU BEL AIR (not classified) $14—south of St. Julien and the Gironde, appellation Haut Medoc, 80 acres (60% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 10% cabernet franc) produce 15,000 cases. Since its acquisition by Domaines Henri Martin in 1981, the vineyard and winemaking facilities have been thoroughly upgraded. Built long ago as a private hideaway for a Medoc nobleman, Chateau Bel-Air has been surrounded by vines for several centuries. "Well-structured, finely balanced Medoc with an easy, accessible charm. An ideal wine for almost every dinner."


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J. LOHR WINERY
Wine Luncheon in Austin

Jerry Lohr was a visionary when he planted vines in the Central Coast in 1972. He selected the Arroyo Seco for his cool weather varietals—chardonnay, pinot blanc, white riesling and valdiguié. Here, nightly fog from Monterey Bay blankets the valley and disappears to the morning sun by 11:00 A.M. Strong north winds blow through at 3:00 P.M., causing the leaf’s stomato to close and stopping photosynthesis. This aggregate weather creates one of California’s coolest growing season. Jerry harvests at night and field crushes and the must is transported in refrigerated containers to the white wine winery.

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, with climate similar to Alexander Valley, was planted with his red varietals in the 1980s. Here also, for his red wines, he built his second winery (cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot, cabernet franc). "The right grapes in the right place is not just a catch phrase," Jerry says. "It’s a recipe for quality."

J. LOHR Cabernet Sauvignon Seven Oaks has long been a favorite wine of mine. The 1995 J. LOHR Seven Oaks Cabernet is an astounding value for $13. Its rich, ripe, supple fruit explodes out of the glass with tempting aromas that are rewarded on the palate. This wine is lovely.

1996 J. LOHR Pinot Blanc $12: ". . . floral/citrus aromatics, graham, vanilla, honey and toasty oak, taste pears in cream with medium texture and long finish."

1996 J. LOHR Chardonnay Riverstone Vineyard $13: "The result of this hand-crafted attention to detail is a lush, complex and concentrated wine with powerful apple and pear aromas, toasty oak bouquets and layers of varietal character."

1997 J. LOHR Valdiguié Wildflower $9: ". . . brilliant magenta, bursting with blackberry, cranberry, raspberry and black pepper."

1997 J. LOHR White Riesling Bay Mist $9: ". . . aromas of apples, apricots and pears, ripe fruit with moderate sweetness and balanced acidity."

1996 J. LOHR Syrah South Ridge $12: " . . . deep purple, concentrated blackberries, orange peel and cherries, smoky, vanilla and butter, supple in youth, complexity develops in the bottle."


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PUBLICATIONS

CLARK & SPURRIER’S FINE WINE GUIDE by Oz Clarke and Steven Spurrier, Harcourt Brace & Company, 352 pages, $30, covers the world’s fine wine selections by the authors. The book is organized by country and wine region in an A to Z format. The most pages are devoted to France, 158; USA, 40; Italy, 25; Spain, 12; Australia, 20; Germany, 22 and so forth. There is a cross-reference in each section to help locate a wine recommendation by name, cru, grower or year. Pages are also devoted to noble grapes varieties, wine styles, buying, handling and stocking a cellar. The book includes 50 maps.

OZ CLARK’S POCKET WINE GUIDE 1999, by Oz Clarke, Harcourt Brace & Company, 304 pages, flexibound, $12 has an A to Z for all entries. There are over 1400 entries on wines, regions, grapes, producers and key wine terms. There are up-to-date ratings of the author’s best wine selections, vintages and values, and brief tips for wine and food pairs. I was especially pleased to note that both authors now advise that if one must err on the side of wine temperature, err on the side of being too cool rather than too warm. I’ve been teaching this idea to my students for years. Wines warm up after being poured, but they’ll not get any cooler on the table—unless you live in an igloo.

Rod Kennedy's book, MUSIC FROM THE HEART, makes a tour through his spirit and emotions to record fifty years of his life--especially in the music business.  What's most remarkable is that he recorded those experiences, remembered them so well and was able to amass the hundreds of documenting photographs. In 1992, Rod began the Kerrville Wine and Music Festival, adding a fairly recent interest in wine to his roster of delights. I've moderated several panels at this event to celebrate wine and can attest to a lively audience. Music from the Heart, Eakin Press, 403 pages, paperback $29.95, hardback $39.95 available Eakin (512) 288-1771.


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HEALTH

Here are reports from the WINE INSTITUTE NEWSFLASH on health and social issues.
1) "Analyzing new in vitro and in vivo studies, Japanese researchers have found red wine, with its large amount of flavonoids or phenolic compounds, significantly inhibits harmful LDL oxidation. . . . While still unsettled, studies offer important preliminary evidence on wine phenol absorption and how these compounds may have protective effects for humans." 2) "Testing red wine and its phenolic fractions for in vitro inhibition of LDL oxidation and platelet aggregation, two key elements involved in atherosclerosis, Italian researchers have found anthocyanins to be the most effective phenolic sub-group. . . ; however, ‘our results do not exclude the possibility of a synergetic action among the different classes of polyphenols.’" 3) "Intake of wine was found to be strongly associated with a good prognosis after first-time lumbar disc surgery," Rasmussen, European Spine Journal. ". . . several biologically active compounds exert protective effects against atherosclerosis, . . . and wine may, as a working hypothesis, contain such compounds which are able to reduce lumbar disc artery stenosis due to atherosclerosis and in this way improve the metabolic status of the intervertebral disc and the surrounding structures." 4) "In our study red wine consumption in volunteers increased plasma and LDL polyphenols and enhanced antioxidant activity as judged by a decrease in the content of plasma total peroxides, an increased lag time [and other measures]." Nigdikar et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Prevention Health Books’ AGE PROTECTORS, reports, "Wine’s potential to lower the risk for heart disease has been talked about for some time. Now, research shows that moderate imbibing may also help you keep your wits about you as you age. A French study of 3,675 men and women over age 65 suggests that those who drank three to four glasses of wine per day were only one-fifth as likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease as compared to non drinkers."

I must stress, however, the importance of the "moderation" factor. The amount of wine consumed depends on your weight and size. A 6 ft. male of 195 lbs. can drink more wine than 5 ft. 4 in. female weighing 130 lbs.

Also, wine should accompany meals and a six-to-eight-ounce glass should be filled one-third to one-half full for proper handling and temperature control. This amount translates to two glasses of wine with lunch and two with dinner, each pour equaling two and one-half ounces, or a total of five ounces for the above described female. Please adjust for your size and weight.

The book reports additionally, that "Contrary to popular belief, we really don’t lose many brain cells as we age. We were born with about 100 billion brain cells. At age 100, most people still have 96.35 billion." Isn’t that a relief!


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NEW RELEASES
(Quotes are winemaker’s notes.  Prices are suggested retail by producers.)

Frascati is one of the world’s oldest wines, having been enjoyed by Romans for nearly 2,000 years.

  • FONTANTA CANDIDA Frascati $8, from the village of Frascati south of Rome, is the most popular Frascati in Rome: "its light, refreshing taste and floral nose come from blending Trebbiano grapes with Malvasia."
  • FONTADA CANDIDA 1997 Pinot Grigio $8: "dry, crisp and fruity—enjoy with poultry and light entrees."

  • EDNA VALLEY VINEYARD1996 Pinot Noir, Paragon $16.50: "intense spicy, floral aroma, palate of cherry and leather notes, distinct tannic grip to soften with age."
  • ENDA VALLEY VINEYARD 1997 Viognier, Fralich Vineyard, Paso Robles $18: "apricot, lychee nut and honeysuckle notes, rich and balanced finish."
  • EDNA VALLEY VINEYARD 1996 Chardonnay, Paragon $16.50: "slight citrus, orange peel, tropical fruit, apple, toasty, buttery characteristics."

  • DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER 1995 Sylvaner, Alsace $12: "light, fresh, delicate fruitiness sustained by balanced acidity."
  • DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER 1996 Pinot Blanc, Alsace $13: "dry, pleasant roundness and concentrated ripe fruit flavors, crisp with hints of mineral and balanced acidity."
  • DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER Reserve, Alsace $15: "80% pinot blanc, 10% riesling, 10% gewurztraminer, wonderfully aromatic, grapefruit and apricot flavors—delicious with strong cheeses."

  • HAYWOOD 1997 Chardonnay Vintner’s Select $8: "crisp, clean, toasty vanilla, tropical fruit, pear, lemon and honey."
  • HAYWOOD 1997 Merlot Vintner’s Select $11: "medium bodied with pleasing tannins, long and full rich flavors, vanilla, cinnamon and lingering spice."
  • HAYWOOD 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Vintner’s Select $8.75: "cherry and red berries, full, soft, chocolate tannins, slight herbal and tabac with hints of oak."

  • WOODBRIDGE 1997 Chardonnay $8: "array of pear, apple, citrus and tropical fruits, creamy,, lingering finish—serve with mixed greens, chevre, corn cakes, fettuccini with mushrooms and grilled chicken breast."
  • WOODBRIDGE 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon $8: "black cherry, raspberry, spice nuances of clove and black pepper, velvety finish."
  • WOODBRIDGE 1997 White Zinfandel $5.50: "red apple, strawberry with hints of orange blossoms."
  • WOODBRIDGE 1997 Sauvignon Blanc $6.50: "light herbal and bright fruit flavors, round and full—serve with Asian dishes, fruit salad, chevre, sea bass, tamales, roasted chicken."

  • ROBERT MONDAVI COASTAL 1997 Merlot $11: "silky, ripe berries, spice, vanilla nuances—serve with lamb chops grilled with rosemary, steak and mushroom risotto."
  • ROBERT MONDAVI COASTAL 1996 Sauvignon Blanc $9: "citrus, pear, melon, rich and crisp acidity that’s perfect with fresh fish and shellfish."
  • ROBERT MONDAVI COASTAL 1997 Chardonnay $10: "spicy fruit aromas, ripe flavors of melon, tropical fruit, lemon zest and apple, toasty and creamy—good with mesquite grilled pork."
  • ROBERT MONDAVI COASTAL 1997 Pinot Noir $11: "berry and plum, some herbal and spicy hints."
  • ROBERT MONDAVI COASTAL Johannisberg Riesling $9: "rose, orange blossoms, apple and pear, honey and spice."

  • VICHON 1996 Mediterranean Syrah $10: "wild berry and black cherry, peppery spice and wild herbs,"

  • IRONSTONE 1997 Chardonnay $10: "rich tropical nose and flavors of banana, pineapple and apples, with balance of oak and fruit and a new label."

  • BOUCHAINE 1996 Chardonnay, Carneros $18: "ripe fruit, red apple, fleshy peach, apricot and more melon, rich mouthfeel and big middle palate."
  • BOUCHAINE 1995 Cabernet Franc $17: "fruit forward focus, dried floral components, chocolate mousse, sour cherries in syrup, woody notes, thyme and sage."

CAMPANILE 1997 Pinot Grigio Friuli DOC, $11, comes from a vintage being described in Italy as "great" and "vintage of the century." Winemaker Giancarlo Roman describes it as crisp and fresh and filled with orange blossoms and bright layers of citrus fruit. He attributes these highlights to his cold and slow fermentation of the free-run juice, grape ripeness, and non-intrusive vinification.

R.H.PHILLIPS has introduced a winery dedicated to the production of Zinfandel. Kempton Clark is a new winery, owned by R.H. Phillips, will showcase a variety of California appellations. The inaugural vintage, the 1997 Kempton Clark Lopez Ranch Zinfandel, Cuacumonga, $18, is scheduled for release on October 1, 1998.

  • R.H. PHILLIPS 1997 Chardonnay Barrel Cuvée Dunnigan Hills $8: "citrus and tropical aromas, spicy vanilla."
  • R.H. PHILLIPS 1997 EXP Viognier $12: "fragrant aromas of peach apricots, tropicals, vanilla, complex stone fruit."

LLANO ESTACADO debuts a new wine label to carry its line of Rhone wines.

  • LLANO ESTACADO 1997 Passionelle, $20, "is 100% Carignane, a medium bodied wine with a creamy texture."
  • LLANO ESTACADO 1997 Zinfandel is also a recent addition to the line of wines: "hearty, full-bodied, balanced."

  • CAKEBREAD 1997 Sauvignon Blanc $14.25: "grapefruit and lemon, melon and pear, complexity, crispness—pair with oysters, spicy foods, and shellfish."

  • CHÂTEAU ST. JEAN 1995,Chardonnay, Robert Young Vineyard, Alexander Valley $28: "intensely fruity and richly textured, honeysuckle, pears, and pineapple with creamy vanilla and lush finish."

  • LINDEMANS 1997 Griffith Botrytis Semillon $11/375ml: "luscious concentration of marmalade citrus fruit and honey with crisp, balanced acidity."

  • PENFOLDS 1997 Koonunga Hill Chardonnay, $9: " typical melon and nectarine with tropical overtones, butterscotch, nuttiness, rich and full and balanced."
  • PENFOLDS 1997 Kooonunga Hill Semillon Chardonnay $7: "citrus-fresh lemon, light butterscotch with subtle oak background, clean, dry, soft buttery texture."
  • PENFOLDS 1996 Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon $9: "plum, dark fruit, cherries, spicy oak, full yet rounded."
  • PENFOLDS 1997 Koonunga Hill Chardonnay, $9: " typical melon and nectarine with tropical overtones, butterscotch, nuttiness, rich and full and balanced."


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CHAMPAGNE KRUG
The Krug family celebrated the 300th anniversary of its Clos du Mesnil vineyard with a dinner and vertical tasting led by Remi Krug at Mediterraneo Restaurant in Dallas. Krug said the "original jewel," a 1689 wall-enclosed, 4.57-acre Cotes des Blanc Grands Cru vineyard, is unique to Champagne--the terroir having been protected by the wall and houses that surround it.

The "jewel" wine bottles tasted of Clos du Mesnil 1989, 1983 and 1981 vintages have been adorned with a handsome golden chased-metal, collar necklace for this year's special fetes. Krug described the wines as elegantly structured with refined flavors emanating from exclusively chardonnay grapes fermented in small oak casks. Purchased in 1971, Krug replanted the Clos vineyard plot by plot. The 1979 vintage was the first release from this effort. Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil is made only in vintage years.

Remi Krug says, "The Clos produces wines of consistency in style rather than consistency of taste. It's rich, complex wine structure is due to the way Krug makes wine--barrel fermenting and Clos du Mesnil terroir. My grandfather called it a flinty taste--a certain sharpness and bite to the wine. Each year is different and here is where the consistency stops and each year has its own style. You find more consistency in the Krug Grande Cuvee. It has so many nuances that it's like a symphony with many, many instruments making beautiful music--so many facets that it goes on and on. The Clos wine is like a sonata with a single instrument being the focus. Both musical pieces may be by Mozart, but they're very different." Remi says, "Clos du Mesnil comes from God and we are only the interpreters. We structure it and compose it as we want."

When I asked why they bought Clos du Mesnil, Remi said, "We were willing to buy vineyards to have more Krug vintage. We learned that a small company was for sale and it included the Clos, so we bought the company and got the vineyard. It was like buying an old dilapidated, run-down, house and finding a painting by Michelangelo or Raphael inside. It was only when I saw it that I realized the uniqueness of it. The Clos was fantastic, but it was a bit by chance. It was what you call a "Sleeping Beauty." It needed a charming prince to wake it up. I don't know that Henri (his brother, the winemaker) and I were princes, but we tried to rejuvenate the Clos."


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Food PAULA LAMBERT and her
MOZZARELLA COMPANY EARN ACCLAIM

The talented and indefatigable Paula Lambert continues to garner awards and accolades for herself and her Mozzarella Compamy, "Cheese made the old-fashioned way."

  • Mozzarella Company featured on television: "Good Morning Texas" Channel 8; The New Texas Cuisine with Stephan Pyles on PBS; The Morning Show on Channel 4
  • Articles appeared in: Ladies Home Journal, National Geographic Traveler, The National Culinary Review, Deli Business, The Underground Shopper Texas Highways, D Magazine, Dallas Morning News, Sunset Magazine, International Woman’s Forum
  • Paula’s recent honors: James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America; DFW Business Journal’s Who’s Who in the Restaurant Category
  • Paula’s professional organizations: International Assn. of Culinary Professionals Secretary/Treasurer; Les Dames d’Escoffier International Third Vice President

Contacts for ordering cheeses: tel. (214) 741-4072, fax (214) 741-4076, e-mail: MozzCo@aol.com.


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MEDITERRANEO
at the Quadrangle
2800 Routh Street, Suite 115
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 979-0002

MEDITERRANEO is a nice addition for Executive Chef David Holben (also at Riviera). The restaurant was selected to host the Champagne Krug 300th anniversary celebration of its Clos du Mesnil vineyard (please see related story). Holben and Chef de Cuisine David Woodward presented delightful canapés to start the evening with Krug Grande Cuvee. The smoked salmon was excellent—just the right degree of smoky and salmon flavors; tiny, flavor-filled crab-potato cakes on toast rounds; eggplant roulade with cherve and fresh shrimp with a red bell pepper aioli dip. The canapés were fresh and properly bite sized, and crisp when appropriate.

The first course was delightful. I could have been content to indulge myself with this creative, well prepared dish the entire evening: Sautéed Potato Gnocchi and Lump Crab with the 1981 Krug Clos du Mesnil—a rich, elegant, beautifully structured wine, mellow yet a crisply textured delight.

Since I don’t like goat cheese (except for Paula Lambert’s very fresh cheeses), I can’t remark about the Natural Aged Blue Goat Cheese and Pear Salad with Belgian endive, roasted walnuts and toasted sesame vinaigrette. Ample chevre made it impossible to get a bite of the salad without the cheese—ordinarily a habit I applaud. I enjoyed sipping the 1983 Krug Clos du Mesnil by itself, a tightly textured and nicely tart wine with ample tiny bubbles—which all the Krug wines have.

The Roasted Veal Loin Steak was a treat with the fabulous Mushroom Coulis. I could have devoured a bowl of the rich coulis. The 1989 Krug de Mesnil is a delicious, fresh and crisp, rich wine with toasty hazelnut.

Unfortunately I had to catch a plane and missed the Warm Chocolate and Burnt Orange Bread Pudding with tart cherry citrus compote and vanilla bean ice cream. I know it would have been a favorite.

If the quality of the menu items is the same as our Krug dinner, I can happily recommend them. Here are some entrees: Rigatoni & Grilled Chicken with sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and parmesan cream sauce $17; Apple Smoked Pheasant Risotto $17.50; Sautéed Gulf Shrimp & Lemon Risotto $22; Polenta Crusted North Atlantic Salmon $21.50; Sesame Seared Yellowfin Tuna $22.50; Horseradish Crabmeat Crusted Sea Bass $22.50; Orange Marinated Roasted Duck Breast $21; Colorado Lamb Chops $28; Sautéed Medallions of Beef Tenderloin "Provencal" $33; Coriander-Black Pepper Rubbed Pork Chop $21.

There’s a nice seated-bar area with several high, small round tables and the dining areas (we dined in a solarium-style room) have uncrowded tables with white linens and fresh white flowers.

A conversation interrupted my perusal of the wine list, but here are some of the items I noted: by the glass Banfi Asti Spumante $7.50; Moët et Chandon White Star $12; Schramsburg Brut Rosé $14; Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label $15; Perrier-Jouët La Fleur $25; Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame $30, and bottles of sparkling wines were Perrier-Jouët $65; Perrier-Jouët La Fleur $190; Louis Roederer Cristal $240; Veuve Clicquot Brut $75; Dom Perignon $220 and Krug $260; L’Hermitage (Mendocino) $67.


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TREFETHEN VINEYARDS NAMES
"Club 30" WINNING CHEFS

Twelve up-and-coming chefs have been named winners of the Trefethen "Club 30" Chardonnay pairing recipe contest. The nationwide contest was part of the winery’s 30th anniversary tribute to 30-year-old chefs and the developing trend in food and wine.

"We received more than 200 entries and the quality of recipes was terrific," said Janet Trefethen.

Trends include the use of fennel and tarragon, new island influences such as the use of rubs and Asian vegetables, and the return to traditional French techniques. Favorite among the judges was Cynthia Bartkowski’s "Thyme Roasted Guinea Hen." Bartkowski is executive chef at the Hotel La Jolla’s Crescent Shores Grill in California. The twelve winners will each receive $1,000, a one-year subscription to Appellation, Food & Wine, and the St. Helena Star.

The other winners...

  • Jeffrey Barker, executive chef, Presidio Grill, Tucson, AZ "Porcini-Seared Chilean Sea Bass . . ."
  • Brian Gerritsen, sous chef, La Toque, Rutherford, CA "Sonoma Goat Cheese and Roasted Chiogga Beets Baked in Walnut Filo . . ."
  • John Gilbert, executive chef, Indigo Restaurant, San Francisco, CA "Wild Mushroom - Sweet Potato - Leek Tart with Puff Pastry . . . "
  • Scott Jones, student, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY "Grilled Shrimp Raviolis with Citrus-Tarragon Oil"
  • Nicole Lavezzi, pastry chef, Piatti, Sacremento, CA "Fromage Blanc Panna Cotta with a Trefethen Chardonnay Poached Pear"
  • Andy Niedenthal, executive chef, Morada Bay Beach Café, Islamorada, FL "Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops over Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes . . . "
  • Paul Okamura, sous chef, Club 33 Disneyland, Anaheim, CA "Roasted Pistachio Nut Crusted Sea Bass with Vegetable Ragout and Tomato Basil Cream Sauce."
  • Kenneth Payne, supervisor, Sierra Restaurant, Yosemite, CA "Spice Encrusted Ahi Tuna"
  • Tim Penn, executive chef, Mi Piaci, Dallas, TX "Grilled Quail with Nectarines, Mesclun and Rosemany Vinaigrette"
  • Carrie Winscott, line cook, Farrallon, San Francisco, CA "Pan Sautéed Halibut with Tomato-Tarragon Beurre Fondue and Corn Flan"
  • Sang Yoon, executive chef, Michael’s, Santa Monica, CA "Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut with Fava Beans and Chanterelle Citrus Nage"


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