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Wine Club Newsletter - August 2015

Trouble Brews Over Saint-Tropez' Crap Wine

August 2015

What's in a name? Plenty if you're a Saint-Tropez winemaker.

A French cooperative learns the hard way that it's best to check the meaning of a name before putting it on the label.

Trouble has struck the paradise resort of Saint-Tropez in the south of France after someone belatedly realized that the name of this year's local rosé means "crap" in German.

The glitzy resort in the VAR department, famed for its old port and celebrity guests, is also surrounded by vineyards that produce grapes for rosé, which is sipped in increasingly high volumes on long Mediterranean summer days, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported.

However, a row has broken out over a decision by the town's cave cooperative to call this year's vintage Mist, an acronym for Made in Saint-Tropez.

Sadly, the word also means "dung," "crap" or "rubbish" in German.

And to make matters worse, the four letters appear next to the town's patron saint on the wine label. The cooperative boasts of "a generous wine that bears the brand and the legend of Tropez, our patron saint".

However, Robert Zimmer, former vice-president of the cave cooperative and a German speaker slammed the new label as "an insult and a blasphemous name that will shock all Germans."

He told the local newspaper that he had run the new name for the vintage by some German friends who were "stunned and shocked."

Red-faced, he said the choice of name was among the reasons that led him to resign. "I didn't agree. I told them so, but they didn't want to change it," he told Le Parisien newspaper. "This name works directly against the image of Saint-Tropez that we all defend, namely a village welcoming all Europeans," he said.

He added that placing the bust of the town's patron saint beside the German word for manure "shocks me too." Saint Tropez, or Saint Torpes of Pisa, was an early Christian martyr and patron saint of sailors.

By Wine-Searcher staff | Posted Saturday, 27-Jun-2015

The Screwy Cap

I was totally baffled by this young couple that came into the wine shop last June. They had purchased a bottle of Pinot Noir from us, took it home and opened it to discover there was no cork in the bottle. They were here to pick up a replacement bottle.

They approached our wine buyer / manager Kurt Kirschenman and explained that they cut off the cap, and when they realized there was no cork in the bottle, became suspicious of the contents.

The young man said the wine smelled OK, and took a sip and said it tasted fine. But they weren’t sure if it was contaminated and decided to pour the wine down the drain.

We asked him if he physically brought in the bottle in so we could inspect it, and perhaps call the winery to see if they have had any issues like this before. He told us he didn’t want to travel with an open container of alcohol in the car, but he did take pictures of the bottle.

The pictures weren’t totally revealing, as the lighting was dim, the shots out of focus, and the shots were small on his cell phone. We were able to determine the type of wine it was, a 2013 Loring Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands.

I went over to the Pinot Noir section and pulled out the same wine, and they recognized the wine and agreed it was the same wine they had purchased and opened, to discover there was no cork in the bottle.

We told them we would be surprised if there were a cork in the bottle, seeing how the winery decided to use a screw cap for their closure. So the poor young man actually cut through the screw cap to open the bottle, and threw the perfectly good wine down the drain. I offered them a glass of wine on me at our Casual Side bar, but I think they were too embarrassed and decided to leave post haste.

Gary Parker

2013 Dolcetto D’Alba D. O. C., Piano delli Perdoni, Mossio

Growing Region:  Alba, Piedmont, Italy
Varietal:  100% Dolcetto
Fermentation:  Stainless Steel & Wood Vats
Alcohol Content:  13.5%
Suggested Retail:  $24.00
WineSellar Club Price:  $20.69

Broad Strokes:                 
The grape varietal Dolcetto typically produces fruit forward, rounded wines that are pure pleasure to drink while they are young, and will age for a few years in the bottle. Contrary to that notion, we find the centuries entrenched Mossio Family likes to make their Dolcetto d’Alba a bit more austere, believing aging the wine in the bottle will bring out further complexities and rewards that the younger fruity counterparts.

Appearance:                      
Nice looking package, as I like the embossed family crest as well as the family name at the bottom of the label. The wine is pretty in color, with some ruby red hues at the core that gradually lighten as hey get out to the rim.

Nose:                                     
It smells very Italian to me. Kind of dusty, earthy with hints of mushroom and truffle. You’ll also notice some black fig, blueberry, wood notes and dried cherry.

Texture:             
This wine is tightly wound, and takes a while to smooth out. The hard edges are perfect for all kinds of foods. The wine is medium in body and long on the finish. In some ways, this reminds me of a Wine from the Rhone Valley of France.

Flavors:                                 
As in the Nose profile: dried cherry, blueberry, mushroom, truffle, fig, wood notes. We cn also add ripe plum, black cherry, licorice, black walnuts, a hint of bacon (Rhone?) and baking chocolate. This also has the 10-2-4 character to it, that of my favorite soft drink in youth, Dr. Pepper.

Serving Suggestions:
Drink now or keep for 4-6 years. The wine will be great all kinds of foods, including cheesy pasta dishes such as Lasagna, also excellent with grilled meats and sausage and cheese snacks.

2011 Laird, Jillian’s Blend

Growing Region:   Napa Valley, California
Varietal Blend:  70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Merlot, 5% Malbec
Fermentation:  50% French & 50% American Oak
Alcohol Content:  14.8%
Suggested Retail:  $44.00
WineSellar Club Price:  $35.99

Broad Strokes:                  
From the Winery: For consulting winemakers Paul Hobbs and Julian Gonzalez, the attraction to help the Laird’s craft their own wines began simply with their family. With Ken having over 40 years in the business, they recognized that he truly understood the ‘ins-and-outs’ of the industry and were able to meet the unique trends and challenges of the wine business. Paul and Julian saw Ken’s determination and knew he was in it for the long run, not simply for hobby’s sake. They also believed the combined vineyard expertise of Justin and Ken was tough to beat. Lastly, there was a shared vision and goal to produce great, estate wines.

Appearance:                      
The medallion styled label is good looking on the dark bottle, heavy bottle. It really punches out the product. Very deep red hue, and the wine is quite viscous.

Nose:                                     
The aromatics on this wine are exotic, with deep black fruits, leather strap and a mash of fresh herbs. Some vanilla oak, graham cracker and pie dough are also present. The nose gives off the sense that’s well structured, which it is. Add some black pepper, tobacco, and a touch of coffee.

Texture:             
The structure of the wine, as mentioned in the nose, is one of the most delightful and remarkable aspects of this wine. Entering with firm acidity, which is mineral in nature, melding with the solid young feeling fruit. Some creamy feel at the core, and it finished up with some crisp acid on the finish.

Flavors:                                 
Tight, dark black fruit notes are positioned next to a more open rhubarb and bramble berry essence. Some cola and caramel notes arise, with the tobacco, coffee, spices and those lovely herbs. Finishes dry and complete.

Serving Suggestions:
I think about 5-8 years in the cellar would be great for this wine, as well as pulling it out tomorrow to serve with some grilled steaks.

2010 Stanger, MASTER

Growing Region:  Paso Robles, California
Varietal:  55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Syrah, 10% Tempranillo
Fermentation:  New French Oak
Alcohol Content:  14.5%
Suggested Retail:  $44.00
WineSellar Club Price:  $39.59

Broad Strokes:                  
You may recall my recent articles in the San Diego Union Tribune as well as our own WineSellar Club Newsletter discussing the Garagiste winemakers in California. These small producers (Stanger makes about 1,000 cases per year, essentially out of a “garage”) and the wines are very personal and professionally made. After meeting winemaker JP French and tasting his wines, I knew I had to bring the Stanger label to San Diego and to our wine clubs. I am certain you will find these wines exciting.

At Stanger, they wait up to 4 years after bottling to release wine at the proper time. Major wine critics have stated that these wines will peak in 7 to 9 years. Therefore the STANGER Reserve wines are released after they have sufficiently matured in the bottle.

Appearance:                      
Very tall Meritage-shaped bottle that won’t fit two-deep in your cellar bins. The wine is nearly black at the core, very dark red on the rim.

Nose:                                     
This reminds me of one of my favorite wine sensations, the adult ice cream sundae. Very complex aromatics with dark cherry and strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, roasted nuts and cinnamon. And just to keep us honest, some earth elements of clay, soil and mineral.

Texture:             
Perfect. Beautiful. Remarkable. Dense fruit holds firm against a slightly noticeable line of acid that is wonderfully harmonious. Creamy, joyful, dancing on the tongue.

Flavors:                                 
New world meets old world. New world notions illustrate the fresh and exciting components of black and red fruits, vanilla, toasted nuts, root beer. Old world traits taking on the masculine: cigar, leather strap, clay, dust and earth.

Serving Suggestions:
Drink now or keep for 8-15 years. It is great for sipping right now, and will fill in nicely in a wide array of uses. You can cellar it, or drink it now with either basic or sophisticated food preparations.

2008 Syrah, Stanger, West Side, Library Reserve

Growing Region:  Paso Robles, California
Varietal:  100% Syrah
Fermentation:  New French Oak
Alcohol Content:   14.5%
Suggested Retail:  $41.00
WineSellar Club Price:  $35.99

Broad Strokes:                 
You may recall my recent articles in the San Diego Union Tribune as well as our own WineSellar Club Newsletter discussing the Garagiste winemakers in California. These small producers (Stanger makes about 1,000 cases per year, essentially out of a “garage”) and the wines are very personal and professionally made. After meeting winemaker JP French and tasting his wines, I knew I had to bring the Stanger label to San Diego and to our wine clubs. I am certain you will find these wines exciting.

At Stanger, they wait up to 4 years after bottling to release wine at the proper time. Major wine critics have stated that these wines will peak in 7 to 9 years. Therefore the STANGER Reserve wines are released after they have sufficiently matured in the bottle.

Appearance:                      
Big ol’ heavy Syrah-shaped bottle, with the label and word “Stanger” easy to see and read. The wine is a very dark red, black at the core, crimson on the rim.

Nose:                                     
Blackberry, sweet vanilla oak, black olive, mineral, smoke, roasted nuts, white pepper, pie dough, coffee, jasmine, chocolate. Just fabulous!!!

Texture:             
I often advise that the wine needs airing before the acids settle down. This one was just the opposite. It was fruit-forward and it took the acid a few minutes to overtake the solid, formidable fruit. Full and rich on the palate entry, it is showing great power and balance with some eventual tannin on the finish. Mouth watering and juicy feel.

Flavors:                                 
Black raspberry, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, smoke, vanilla oak, black cherry, strawberry, kiwi, cappuccino, white pepper, mineral, hot stones. Tastes like an Americanized Cote-Rotie! Totally delicious!

Serving Suggestions:
Drink now or keep for 6-8 years. It is great for sipping right now, and will fill in nicely in a wide array of uses. You can cellar it, or drink it now with either basic or sophisticated food preparations.

2014 Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Poderi del Paradiso

Growing Region:  San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Varietal:  100% Vernaccia
Fermentation:  Stainless Steel
Alcohol Content:  12.5%
Suggested Retail:  $18.00
WineSellar Club Price:  $15.29

Broad Strokes:                 
Pronounced sän-ˌjē-mē-ˈnyä-nō
Another killer white wine for our WineSellar Club members!

Poderi del Paradiso is one of the top producers in San Gimignano, the city of eternal towers. The winemaking here is unparalleled, guided by enologist Paolo Caciorgna—himself a native of San Gimignano, just like the Cetti family who run the estate. This family since practically the Middle Ages has tended vines at the foot of this immortal city. With the expert guidance of Paolo Caciorgna—unquestionably one of Italy’s leading enologists—winemaking at Paradiso effortlessly melds tradition with the most modern methods.  Yields are vigorously controlled; all work is done by hand; wines are made in micro-quantities. 

Appearance:                      
Standard-looking Italian white wine bottle, dark glass and old world-style label. The wine itself has a lovely silver and golden hue, and it is clear and attractive.

Nose:                                     
I love the aromatics on this wine. Nice hint of apricot, with mineral, slate, chalk and dusty elements overlying stone fruits, lemon and white pepper. I also detected some lime and even lemongrass, with sea air.

Texture:             
Clean and smooth entry is quite pleasing on this medium-light weighted wine. There is an AMAZING balance of fruit and acid and alcohol. It finishes up perfectly clean and refreshing.

Flavors:                                 
The wine kept opening and opening up to more flavor complexities for the first 45 minutes. You will notice flavors of pineapple, pear and ripe red apple fruit (including red apple skin). Then witness a delicate, wispy note of caramel, which we likened to cotton candy balls.

Serving Suggestions:
Fun, unique crowd pleaser that you should drink and pay attention to for the first 45 minutes as it changes and becomes complex. Don’t serve too cold, and do not age it!

Braised Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

Here’s an easy recipe that is versatile, in that you can use it with duck, lamb, or beef.

Ingredients - Cherry Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/3 cup ruby port
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Ingredients - Pork Chops

  • 2 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Method

                Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Method - Cherry Sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the shallot and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cherries, port, and vinegar and cook until the cherries begin to soften and the port has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. While the sauce reduces, start cooking the pork chops. When the sauce is finished, remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Method – Pork Chops

  1. Rinse the chops and pat them dry with paper towels. Place the salt, coriander, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl and mix until evenly combined. Rub all of the spice mixture all over the pork chops.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat until simmering. Add the chops and cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Flip the chops over and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the chops are golden brown on the second side and the temperature registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each chop, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Place the chops on warm plates and let them rest 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the reserved sauce over top and serve.

(CHOW.com)

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