The Sarah Jane English Newsletter 1st Edition

wine.gif (1421 bytes) NEW RELEASES WORTH TRYING
(Prices vary from store to store)

Bernard Portet celebrated CLOS Du VAL’s 25th anniversary at Brio Vista dinner with fine wines: ’95 Carneros Chardonnay $16, ’93 Zinfandel $15, ’94 Cabernet Sauvignon $23.

John Livingston makes only cabernet sauvignon. The 1994 LIVINGSTON, Moffett Vineyard

Napa celebrates 10th Anniversary--a big handsome wine, good structure and ripe plums.

BERINGER’s Chilean imports:’97 Viña Tarapacá Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; ’96 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, $7 ea. Beringer’s Rivefort de France, by co-winemakers David Schlottman and Jean-Louis Mandrau, delicious and well-priced at $8 ea. 1996 Rivefort de France Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, ’95 Rivefort de France Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

FRANCISCAN’s Chilean ’96 Veramonte Merlot $10 and ’95 Estancia Duo $18

ROUND HILL Vineyards owner Virginia Van Asperen celebrates 20th anniversary with new Van Asperen wines: ’96 Chardonnay $11, ’95 Zin $10, ’94 Cabernet Sauvignon $15, ’92 Reserve Cab $24.

‘95 GRGICH HILLS Zinfandel is available, $18 (has won all sorts of awards over the years)

New from BEAULIEU, ‘95 Signet Collection: Sangiovese $16, Syrah $25, Viognier $25, Zinfandel $12

SIMI, always excellent, releases ’95 Sendal $20, Res. Chard $30, Res. Cab $45.

HAYWOOD is making a Vintner’s Select, California: Chardonnay $8, Merlot $9 and Cabernet Sauvignon $8. Nice wines at a nice price.

Racke International releases Italians—good value: ’96 VIALA Chardonnay (light, tart) ’96 Viala Sangiovese (perfumy, fruity) only $6 ea.

Phillip de Rothchild’s CADET label: ’95 Cadet Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon $8 ea., ’95 Mouton Cadet Rouge, Mouton Cadet Blanc, $10 ea., dry with good structure.

From Sonoma, ’95 STONE CREEK Cabernet Sauvignon Chairman’s Reserve (well-made, multiple flavors) $15.50, ’94 Stone Creek Merlot (textured and balanced) $16.50

ROBERT MONDAVI has released ‘94s and ‘95s: 1995 Carneros Chardonnay $26, Reserve Chardonnay $31, Carneros Pinot Noir $26, Napa Pinot Noir $18.50, Reserve Pinot Noir $31, Stags Leap District Sauvignon Blanc $18, Zinfandel $18.50; 1994 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $22, Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon $28, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $75, reliably delicious.

From Amador County: ’95 MONTEVINA Sangiovese and Barbera $12 ea., fruity and light

PRESTON 1996 Cuvée de Fumé $11 and Zinfandel $18 will reward palate and pocket.

Two BELEVEDERE reds deserve tasting: ’94 Cab $18, ’95 Zin $14.

food.gif (1390 bytes) Si Bon, 801 So. Lamar, Austin, TX tel. 326-8323: Chef Peter O’Brien has about 25 tables, a bar for hors d’oeuvres service, French and Italian specialties with his touch--wild boar with prunes and olives in red--wine sauce, fall menu, veal for spring; whole lobster fanned out on focaccia w/tomato concassé and gruyère; salmon baked and crusted with almonds and ginger; duck breast for two baked in salt dough with garlic, black pepper, rosemary--wrapped in salt dough which is cracked and opened at table—all delicious with GRGICH HILLS Chardonnay and IRON HORSE Wedding Cuvée. Reasonably priced.

Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924 tel.888-766-0002: Chef Edward Stone, co-owner of the Inn--where the food and the service are superb. Stay at the elegantly refurbished Inn for luxury comfort and dine for indulgent cuisine. Chef Stone cooked for me several times and my only regret was that I had to leave before he could cook for me several times more. Try his Sauteed Sea Bass with Lobster, Corn and Snap Pea Salsa, Sherry Reduction; the Scallop and Sweetbreads Ragout with White Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms; Rack of Lamb with Celery Root, Parsnip, Black Truffle Salad, Fava Bean; Pan Seared Foie Gras, with a late harvest wine like VIOLETTA or DOLCE, and, of course, the White Chocolate Mousse Torte with Raspberry Coulis a lovely Port like GRAHAM’s, FLADGATE or RAMOS PINTO.

Ryland Inn, Box 284, Route 22 West, Whitehouse, NJ 08888 tel.908-534-4011: Chef Craig Shelton, Reserve dining privileges, but do so several weeks in advance—eight-weeks for Saturday dining—for everyone seems aware of his unique culinary expertise. Chef Craig Shelton creates the sort of magic fare you’ve only dreamed about experiencing. I had a dégustation: Napoleon of marinated Tuna filled with Couscous; Cream of Sea Urchin Soup (like lobster bisque); Sauteed wild Mushrooms between discs of dried Root Vegetables Shavings (the last item should be packaged and sold for snacks); Blanquette of Halibut, Maine Oysters, Oyster Mushrooms and Salsify with Watercress Cream; Fricassee of Maine Lobster and "Ratte" Potatoes with Spanish Onions and Black Truffles; Grilled Foie Gras à la Craig; Pan-Roasted, dry-aged Prime Rib-Eye with Szechuan Pepper. Greg has been honored with Best French Wine List in America.

travel.gif (1493 bytes) CCWC at San Luis Obispo; Cuisines of the Sun on the Big Island, Hawaii. If you missed the 1997 KCBX Central Coast Wine Classic last July, save these dates, July 5-12, 1998. You won’t want to miss it. This event is packed with the most fun and various entertainments imaginable—intellectual and visceral. You’ll become reacquainted with or discover new wines. Stay at the Cliffs or Sycamore Mineral Springs and Spa. Both have advantages. The Cliffs, perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean, has access to the beach. It’s too cold to swim without a wet suit but great walking and watching. Room balconies and amenities like irons and ironing boards, in-room coffee, bottled water, an indoor pool, and breakfast included in the lobby are nice additions. Sycamore Mineral Springs has ample and relaxing comfort, individual patio Jacuzzis, redwood hot tubs scattered in various outdoor settings and delicious food—I ate the oat bran pancakes three days in a row. John Kennedy, Jr. And his bride were there and no one bothered them. The 1997 Platinum Package included dinner orchestrated by Chef Jacques Pépin at the Hearst Castle. Imagine dining on the terrace beside the Neptune Pool as a crescent moon appears in an azure-sapphire, star-speckled sky while enjoying Maison Deutz sparkling wines, Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes, Cambria Chardonnay, Foxen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Justin Winery Cabernet Franc and Creston Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. The evening was spectacular. The 1998 Hearst event will feature the cuisine of Madeleine Kamman, cookbook author and director of Beringer’s Hudson House cooking school and Gary Danko, James Beard’s Perrier-Jouët Best Chef in California, 1995, paired with Rhône varietals. Among many other events, there will be a series of Rhône verticals which showcase Georg Riedel and his newly designed stemware for Syrah and Shiraz wines. The ’98 vineyard symposium will be held at Tablas Creek Vineyard, a Paso Robles region joint venture of Robert Haas and Francois Perrin of Château de Beaucastel. See you there. Contact Archie McLaren, 4100 Vachell Ln., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 tel. 805/781-3026

How about Hawaii for Christmas? I made my first trip this year and was rewarded beyond my wildest dreams at Kona Villa Resort and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows.   Kona Village replicates an ancient Hawaiian village and is one of those rare places that deserves the word unique. Surrounded and interspersed with abundant flowering plants and tropical vegetation, the individual Polynesian cottages seem part of the landscape. More than 100 hales (bungalows) have access to beaches of changing sands--one resembling cracked black pepper and sea salt, one pure black sandy lava, and a familiar white-beige sand. Some hales are on stilts or beside the beach or ponds or at the edge of the lava fields.

The ornamental thatched roof and siding cover the ample modern comforts inside: a refrigerator stocked with complimentary juices and soft drinks, a dressing room and bath with appropriate amenities, coffee maker, writing desk, lounging chairs and ceiling fans. There is also the rare luxury of total privacy, complete relaxation and soothing quietude--whether swinging in a hammock between native hala trees or splashing in the cooling water along the beach.

There are no modern inconveniences--telephones, television, radios--in the hales, but telephones are available at the registration hut. If communications occur, they are left on a clip board on the porch of the hale. Kona’s Trade Wind breezes negate the need for air conditioning. The sliding glass doors open almost the length of the wall, and ceiling fans circulate the constant sea breeze.

Of course, the first miracle of Hawaii is that anyone found it. As part of the Polynesian Triangle, it’s included in a 15-million square mile vastness. The second miracle is the magic of black. Hawaii, alias the Big Island, has lava fields—crumpled, creased, clumped hunks of cooled molten lava spreading as far as cotton fields in Texas. Enjoying the luxury at either Kona Village or the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel gives you ocean-side views of lava fields and some of the best living experiences available to modern man.

If you can wait until August, attend the Cuisines of the Sun at the Mauna Lani Hotel with a stopover at Kona Village. The 1997 event had a theme of spices, nicest when Mauna Lani Executive Chef Trey Foshee orchestrates pairing wines and foods with internationally acclaimed chefs at "Cuisines of the Sun." The 1997 feast began with "Supping in a Spice Market" and King Estate Pinot Gris goes with everything. Like bazaar-hopping along a spice trail, chefs tossed freshly picked spices that perfumed the diners’ paths to CharlieTrotter’s Thai-Spiced Lobster with Beggar’s Purse; Alan Wong’s Ginger-crusted Onaga and Raji Jallepalli’s Shrimp with Cumin-Scented Tomato Coulis. All the aromatic dishes were blessed by Weingut Franz Kunstler’s fine Rieslings and Weinhaus Heger’s Pinots Blanc, Noir and Gris, and the wines of Au Bon Climat and Billecart-Salmon. This is a hint, but there’s so much more!

Plans are underway for the 1998 Cuisines. For information on Kona Village (800-367-5290), the Mauna Lani Bay (800-367-2323) or the Cuisines of the Sun, contact Diana Moody, Sheila Donnelly & Associates, 10513 Northvale Rd., Los Angeles CA 90064 tel. 310/838-9220.