a.k.a. Wine Investigation for Novices & Oenophiles
W.I.N.O. was founded in 1967 by Jerry and Linda Mead as a way for wine lovers of modest means to share the cost of tasting wines. For roughly the cost of a single bottle, a couple could taste as many as a dozen different bottles. From its very first event, W.I.N.O. included food as a part of its wine tasting format, something that was quite uncommon at the time.
Born at the same time was The W.I.N.O. Newsletter, the official newsletter of Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles. It was The W.I.N.O. Newsletter which later gave birth to a second publication, The W.I.N.O. Trader, which eventually evolved into the publication you are now reading, The Wine Trader.
We now have a "tail wagging the dog" situation. The Wine Trader's circulation has grown to reach an estimated 75,000 readers every issue, while the newsletter has become a section within the magazine.
If the tastings and events reported on in this section sound like fun to you and you'd like more information,
contact: W.I.N.O., P.O. Box 1598, Carson City, NV 89702 (800) 845-9463 or FAX (702) 884-2484.
Carson Valley W.I.N.O. Report:
Jekel Vineyards at
Bricks in Reno
by Jeannette Jenness Charming
Suave. Debonair. Articulate. And a damned good winemaker, too,
is Rick Boyer of Jekel Vineyards. Carson Valley W.I.N.O.s experienced another wonderful dinner,
this time at Bricks' Restaurant in Reno, accompanied by some outstanding wines from Jekel.
We began with an aperitif glass of Jekel 1996 Johannisberg Riesling. When I
was first told we would be having a Riesling, I wrinkled my nose in distaste, I dislike any sweet
wine, but this was an exceptional Riesling with only 1.6% residual sugar that has me rethinking my
opinion of Rieslings. It's a wine that will change with the flavors one pairs with it and would go well
with Thai food or anything spicy or fruity.
While we started our first course, two really delicious Dungeness Crab Cakes, and sipped
with them Jekel's 1995 Gravelstone Chardonnay,a wine that reflects Rick's preference for oak
barrels that don't impart too much oak so that the oak doesn't mask the fruit flavor of the wine,
Rick described his philosophy of winemaking. Jekel vineyards are organically grown as much as
possible, using methods such as planting groundcover to enrich the soil and using nature's
combination of good insects and earthworms to help develop healthy vines. Jekel is also a winery
with a heart; they have dug trenches parallel to the vines so that the grape pickers can harvest them
at a comfortable level without stooping. The workers stand in the trench in front of the vine and are
then at direct arm's reach to the grapes! And what Rick strives to do with these grapes is to make a
distinctive wine that "reflects the spot we grow on the earth." With so many wineries out there, a wine
must be distinctive to get noticed, and Rick is certainly succeeding in his ambition.
Our second course was a hearty antipasto salad, baby mixed greens, shaved parmesan
cheese, roasted bell peppers, in a Cabernet vinegarette. Since we thought the salad could stand up
to a red wine, we paired it with Jekel's 1994 Merlot. It wasn't a match made in heaven, but it worked.
Rick said he probably should have sent his Pinot Noir to go with the salad but he prefers the Merlot
and so sent that instead. A man after my own heart.
The entree was a mouth-watering Steak Diane (two fillets each!) with a Cabernet mushroom
demi-glace, served with garlic whipped potatoes and grilled red, yellow, and green bell peppers. With
it we had Jekel's superb 1991 "Arroyo Seco" Meritage Red, a blend of the famous Bordeaux family
of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
And what did we have with the Belgium Chocolate Cake? A Jekel 1995 Cabernet
Sauvignon, a really big wine that loved the cake as much as we did. As a final added treat, we
sampled two of Rick's latest offspring: a 1994 Malbec and a 1994 Petit Verdot, both selling at
$30.00/bottle and worth every penny.
If you're in the Reno area, do try to dine at Bricks'. They gave us a flawless evening, from the
fantastic food to the exemplary wait staff. And buy up all the Jekel wine you can afford!
Carson Valley W.I.N.O. Report:
Goosecross and Pradel
at Wally's Hot Springs
by Jeannette Jenness
Seventy-five people attended Carson Valley W.I.N.O.s' barbecue
supper at Wally's Hot Springs Resort in May. It wasn't gourmet, but it sure was yummy:
Santa-Maria-style barbecue tri-tip, pork ribs, and chicken; salad, bread; and some truly unique
poquitos beans. The Oak Pit's Joe Cirone did himself proud and went home one tired puppy: he
started cooking at noon and finished up around 7 that evening.
Seventy-five people attended Carson Valley W.I.N.O.s' barbecue supper at Wally's Hot
Springs Resort in May. It wasn't gourmet, but it sure was yummy: Santa-Maria-style barbecue tri-tip,
pork ribs, and chicken; salad, bread; and some truly unique poquitos beans. The Oak Pit's Joe Cirone
did himself proud and went home one tired puppy: he started cooking at noon and finished up around
7 that evening.
And even though the food wasn't gourmet, the wines certainly were. We began
with Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, a hugely popular, award winning champagne with touches of vanilla
and melon, firm acid and crisp structure. Our evening centered around Goosecross Cellars, a
micro-winery in Napa. The founding Gorsuch family, using an Old English derivation of their family
name, called their winery "Goosecross," as they set out to make a singular Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Geoff Gorsuch, winemaker, graced us with his presence, and not only described his wines, but helped
us pour as we ran short of servers. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious and helped us all
enjoy the evening even more.
Goosecross believes in the concept of "terroir," which
means far more than "earth" or "soil" or even "vineyard site." It refers to all of the elements that go
into making superior wine: soil, subsoil, microclimate, precipitation, drainage of both air and water,
temperature, elevation of the land, tilt of the land toward the sun, and prevailing winds. The wine
becomes greater than the sum of its parts when all of these elements combine in just the right way.
Goosecross Cellars superior, hand-crafted wines are testimonial to this belief.
Goosecross Napa Valley Chardonnay 1994 and 1995, and most of the folks around me preferred
the '95 (that's good; the '94 is all sold out anyway!). Winemaker Geoff believes that vintage 1995
will prove to be one of the best Goosecross Estate Vintages of the 1990's due, in part, to a long,
cool growing season and extended "hang time" of the grape clusters. With the luck of early bud
break and late harvest, the grapes exhibited intense and complex characteristics that nature can
only provide on rare occasion. To utilize the best balance of sugar and pH at the Estate, the fruit
was picked at a slightly higher sugar level, similar to vintages 1992 and 1993, in order to maintain
consistency between vintage years.
The ripe peach and grapefruit flavors of the estate were complemented with Chardonnay
from Carneros and St. Helena. The Carneros fruit bore green apple
characteristics, excellent structure and good acidity; the Stags Leap appellation fruit offered flavors
of peach, pear, pineapple and banana, lending tremendous depth and richness. Goosecross
Cellars has also recently acquired Bernard Pradel Cellars and the entire Pradel inventory of Cabernet
Sauvignon vintage wines. We tasted the Yountville Ranch 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 1993
Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The Howell Mountain is a full-bodied, rich Cab; the Yountville
'93 was also excellent with characteristics of raspberry and chocolate. Utilizing the Howell Mountain
vineyard, Goosecross will now take winemaking responsibility for the 1995 and 1996 vintages and
bottle them under the Goosecross label. The first Goosecross Cabernet is anticipated to be released
in the summer of '98 provided, of course, that "the wine is aged to perfection by that time," says
For information about Goosecross wines, call 1-800-276-9210.
For information about the Carson Valley W.I.N.O. chapter, contact Regional Directors
Wendell and Jeanette Jenness at (702) 265-1506.
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Latest Update: October 31, 1997