April’s Wine of the Month Club Selections

WHAT CAN MAKE A GOOD GRAPE GO BAD? 
Grapes, like most other fruits, are hard and tough when they first form on the vine. They are also highly acidic, and have a degree of bitterness. As natural ripening progresses, the fruit softens and sweetens. They lose acid and, through photosynthesis and other vine metabolic processes, take on sugar. The color deepens, a fragrance emerges, and the flavor develops.

 

But so many things can go awry that will doom the fruit to be just plain bad. Perhaps the biggest culprit is insufficient ripening, caused by any one (or more) of several issues.
The wise person who plants grape vines takes care to plant only varieties that can flourish in the climate his vineyard has to offer. He pays close attention to the quality and make-up of the soil, as each element plays a part in a successful vineyard. But no amount of pre-planning and care can skirt the effects of a particularly cool year, an extended rainy season, or a calamity such as an invasion of the phylloxera louse that nearly totally wiped out European wine grapes.

three grapes

img c/o shutterstock

The grower may cause his own grief by trying to force his vines to produce more fruit than they are able, planting too many vines in a small area.

Perhaps he is too aggressive, harvesting the fruit before it has reached perfection. The grapes’ flavors will be underdeveloped, resulting in wine that is low in alcohol and really high in acid. Ever try to eat a beautiful pear or strawberry before they are truly ripe? Unripened grapes will pucker your mouth in the same way, and their wine will be equally unpleasant.

On the other hand, if he’s lazy and leaves the fruit to languish on the vines too long, the wine will be reminiscent of that pear you ate Sunday that you should have eaten the previous Monday. It will be highly alcoholic with little acidity and a flabby personality. There are so many ways to make a good grape go bad. You can rely on your favorite Wine of the Month Club to avoid the “bad grapes.”

CHATEAU SAINT NABOR — CÔTES DU RHÔNE (Vintage 2012, Red)

  • Country: France
  • Region: Cornillon
  • Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Carignane, Cinsault

Located in the town of Cornillon, the history of this family-owned Estate goes back to 1870, when the Castor family began farming there, growing cereals, fruit and grapes. Wine production was small,mostly for the family’s own consumption. In 1945, Edmond Castor focused on improved vine management and producing higher quality wines. It took years of trying, but he obtained the Appellation of Origin Côtes du Rhône for the vineyards of Cornillon in 1972, four years after his death. The management of the Estate continued by his wife, then her son Gérard, who abandoned the other cropsand grew only quality grapes, producing only the highest quality wines. Today, his two sons continue the family tradition. The tasting room, located in an 11th century chapel was opened to the public in 1972, the first in the area. Today, they have 345 acres under vine. (It was also the first Estate to sell bottled wines.)

A complex mix of estate-grown Grenache, Syrah, Carignane and Cinsault grapes combine to create this intense garnet-red wine with the bright ruby tints. It tastes of ripe red fruits, plums and blackberries dominate both aromas and flavors. From the Syrah comes spicy, red fruit aromas. The moderate alcohol creates a smooth, well-structured wine that is ready to drink now, at room temperature. Serve with red meats and game, as well as with spicy meat dishes.

To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)
Item# SN5702 — 2 bottles – $43.00 — 6 bottles – $97.50 — 12 bottles – $166.00
MEMBER DISCOUNTED PRICES INCLUDE FREE SHIPPING!

Chateau Saint Nabor Côtes du Rhône:

  • GRENACHE — Used to make wines that are rich, warm and alcoholic, and are often-times components of blended recipes, as in this month’s selection.
  • SYRAH/SHIRAZ — Winemakers have discovered the versatility of this beefy black grape, used in blends and in solo recipes. Its wines are full-bodied, long-lived and fruity.
  • CARIGNANE— Another grape that “plays well with others,” this Spanish/French fruit has noir-colored skin that contributes to wine coloration. Very large yields when grown successfully, but challenging due to sensitivity to pests and cold.
  • CINSAULT — A prolific growing red, it makes robust, brilliantly-colored wines. At its best when a part of a blend; not usually found as a single-ingredient wine.

KLOSTERKELLER SIEGENDORF — WEISSBURGUNDER (Vintage 2010, White)

  • Country: Austria
  • Region: Burgenland
  • Grape: Weissburgunder

The Burgenland is the 7th largest of Austria’s 9 states and its most easterly state. It borders the Austrian provinces of Niederösterreich and Steiermark to the west, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east and Slovenia to the south. It sits on the edge of Central Europe’s vast Pannonian Plain and enjoys a mild climate with 300 days of sunshine a year. Burgenland has 14,500 hectares of vineyards producing excellent white wines, full-bodied reds, and an array of noble sweet wines. During the last 20 years, there has been a red wine revolution in Austria, and increasingly Austria’s top red wines tend to come from the Burgenland.

The Klosterkeller Siegendorf wine estate consists of 25 contiguous hectares, unusual for Austria. The Lenz Moser AG Company has leased the vineyards since 1989 and have uprooted and re-planted with a variety of wine grapes. Their wines are available only in limited quantities and every bottle bears an individual number.

Their offering is 100% Weissburgunder, produced under the strictest ecological parameters. This brilliant shimmering yellow wine has reflections of green in the glass. Pleasantly harmonious with distinctive apple and apricot aromas, the palate follows the aroma and combines the fruit flavors with crisp, refreshing acidity. Enjoy it now, chilled, with your favorite veggie, fish and foul dishes.

To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)
Item# SN5703 — 2 bottles – $41.00 — 6 bottles – $92.88 — 12 bottles – $157.00
MEMBER DISCOUNTED PRICES INCLUDE FREE SHIPPING!

Klosterkeller Siegendorf Weissburgunder:

  • WEISSBURGUNDER — Better known as Pinot Blanc, it produces fruity, well-balanced, medium-bodied, dry wines that some even prefer over young Riesling wines.

MARQUEE CLASSIC — SHIRAZ VICTORIA (Vintage 2009, Red)

  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Central Victoria
  • Grape: Shiraz

The history of the modern Australian wine industry began in the 1950’s when, gradually, many refinements in viticulture and viniculture were adopted and new varietals introduced. In the 1960’s, large companies made enormous investments in vineyards and production facilities. This, coupled with the explosion of many “boutique” wineries, has caused the Australian wine scene to change dramatically at home and abroad. Today, wine is one of Australia’s main exports.

Made from 100% premium Shiraz fruit from the 2009 vintage grown in Central Victoria, the fruit (and thus, the wine) were untainted by the brush fires in the region that created choking smoke. Some fruit was lost to the scorching drought, but what survived was of excellent quality. This deep purple plum wine has complex aromas of dark berries mixed with a hint of cinnamon. The palate is fruit forward with rich black fruits and an intentional smoky flavor. A lush mid-palate gives way to a long finish.

The wine is ready to enjoy now, but with proper cellaring, will age through 2015. Serve at room temperature in red wine goblets with BBQ’d meat, grilled pork loin, beef teriyaki, pizza, and pasta with rich meat sauce.

To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)
Item# SN5704 — 2 bottles – $33.68 — 6 bottles – $73.08 — 12 bottles – $124.60
MEMBER DISCOUNTED PRICES INCLUDE FREE SHIPPING!

Marquee Classic Shiraz:

  • SHIRAZ — Winemakers have discovered the versatility of this beefy black grape, used in blends and solo wines. Vines are found in both Australia and South Africa.

MARQUEE CHATEAU SAINT NABOR — CHARDONNAY (Vintage 2012, White)

  • Country: France
  • Region: Cornillon
  • Grape: Chardonnay

Located in the town of Cornillon, the history of this family-owned Estate goes back to 1870, when the Castor family began farming there, growing cereals, fruit and grapes. Wine production was small,mostly for the family’s own consumption. In 1945, Edmond Castor focused on improved vine management and producing higher quality wines. It took years of trying, but he obtained the Appellation of Origin Côtes du Rhône for the vineyards of Cornillon in 1972, four years after his death. The management of the Estate continued by his wife, then her son Gérard, who abandoned the other crops and grew only quality grapes, producing only the highest quality wines. Today, his two sons continue the family tradition. Today, they have 345 acres under vine. The tasting room, located in an 11th century chapel was opened to the public in 1972, the first in the area. It was also the first Estate to sell bottled wines.

A bright Vin de Pays D’Oc wine with golden tints, this 100% chardonnay has an elegant nose of rich exotic fruits (pineapple and banana), enhanced by crisp apple. It is light, crisp and easy drinking with a fresh taste and well-balanced body. Enjoy it now with spicy Chinese food, pork chops with onion and garlic, with apricot tart, or alone with a good friend.

To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)
Item# SN5705 — 2 bottles – $41.36 — 6 bottles – $93.24 — 12 bottles – $158.68
MEMBER DISCOUNTED PRICES INCLUDE FREE SHIPPING!

Chateau Saint Nabor Chardonnay:

  • CHARDONNAY GRAPES — This, the finest dry white wine grape in the world, grows successfully in virtually every commercial winemaking area. Not only is it the producer of the great white Burgundies, it is one of the three major grapes used in champagne. It’s a relished “ingredient grape.” With perfect growing conditions, the quality is unequaled.

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