November 1993


Tinto and Dry Chenin Blanc

Dry Chenin Blanc and Tinto continue to be our two most popular wines; and in time for the holidays, we have two new releases:  1992 Dry Chenin Blanc and 1991 Tinto.

The Chenin was partially fermented in small oak barrels, giving the wine a hint of oak suffused in rich fruit flavors.  It is dry (virtually no residual sugar) and moderately acidic.  The aroma, which has had months to develop in the bottle, is distinctly Chenin Blanc and reminds me of apples.  The color is a very subtle pale straw.  It is rich and robust in the mouth with a long smooth finish.  It will be a great complement to any menu, with the strength to harmonize with even the most highly flavored dishes.  This is probably the best value going in Napa Valley white wine.  $91.80/case plus $6.66 CA sales tax if applicable.

The new Tinto (1991) made its debut in the salesroom three months ago, and sales have been terrific, even in this very down market.  The people just love it.  It displays the unusual deep purple color, which is the signature of Tinto.  It is even fruitier than the 1990, and the oak is a little less pronounced.  It is soft in the mouth, but it has a pleasant punch in the finish.  The story here is drinkability.  It’s very easy to like.  Our biggest seller.  $102.60/case plus $7.43 CA sales tax if applicable.


The sample case we offered for the first time in the last issue of the Journal has been a big hit.  If you are a one-wine buyer, we want you to try the entire family of Casa wines.  Here’s a chance to sample everything we presently offer and save over 20%.  Each sample case contains three bottles each of 1991 Chardonnay and 1992 Dry Chenin Blanc; and two bottles each of 1989 Cab Franc, 1991 Tinto and 1987 Dorado.  $99, plus $7.18 CA sales tax if applicable.


In wine-speak, a “vertical tasting” is a tasting of the same variety but of different vintages.  Some years ago we offered a vertical tasting case of Chenin Blanc that was enthusiastically received.  Unfortunately, we were unable to continue the 

Program because we had not anticipated it by setting aside sufficient stock of Chenin from previous years.  As we have become more methodical about our “reserve list”, we are again able to offer a “vertical” case:  four bottles each of 1990, 1991, and 1992 Dry Chenin Blanc.  This is a great way to create instant “depth” in the cellar.  $97.20/case, plus $7.05 CA sales tax if applicable.


Most winemaking is actually done in the vineyard.  This is why “estate bottled” wines like those of Casa Nuestra are so rare and sought-after.  It is estimated that 80% of the vineyards of the Napa Valley will be replanted as a result of the phylloxera catastrophe.  The per acre cost of such replanting is estimated to be $25,000, though some say that figure is too low.  What no one is talking about is the fact that superior wines come from older vineyards.  It is said that vineyard must attain its 40th year before it will be used in certain legendary first-growth wines of Bordeaux.  In the land of the hoola-hoop, not much of anything lasts for forty years.  Mature vineyards in the Napa Valley will soon be a rarity if they are not so already.

The impact of phylloxera on Casa Nuestra is softened by the fact that most of Casa’s vineyards were planted in the 60’s on traditional St. George rootstock, which is phylloxera resistant.  The Oakville Tinto vineyard was planted on St. George in the 40’s.  It was not until the emergence of “wine chic” in the 70’s that wholesale replanting to “cab ‘n Chard” occurred.  Sadly, the rootstock of choice during that period was AXR #1, which was then erroneously believed to be phylloxera resistant.  Of the 20 acres of Casa vineyards, only the Cabernet Franc (about three acres) is at risk to phylloxera.  The dreaded louse has not been discovered in the Franc yet, but it must be assumed that its appearance is only a matter of time.  So get it while you can.


Although Cabernet Franc has been the major planting in the St. Emilion region of Bordeaux for centuries, it is still relatively unknown to California wine drinkers.  More than most varieties, it cares where it is planted; and it seems to be very happy here at the Casa.  It has consistently rendered outstanding wines since the premier Casa vintage in 1986.  The current release 1989 is a beautiful ruby color, with an appetizing Cabernet aroma and a soft, velvety texture in the mouth.

The flavors of red berries and mint are intense and concentrated.  The influence of French oak is subtle and agreeable.  A very special wine.  $16 per bottle; $172.80/case, plus $12.53 CA sales tax if applicable.


For those special occasions, which demand a white burgundy, we have 1991 Chardonnay.  In the Casa style, this wine is spritely and refreshing.  It is a complement to a meal, but not the meal itself.  It was made in the classic style, fermented in small oak barrels with prolonged contact with the lees.  A late entry into the field, it is irresistible priced.  An outstanding wine and an outstanding value.

$12 per bottle; $129.60 per case plus $9.40 CA sales tax if applicable.


Many customers in response to the survey expressed the desire to order in 6-bottle increments and so beginning immediately we are offering 6 packs with a quantity discount of 5%.  Compute the price using the bottle prices.  Help yourself to a 5% discount and then add freight and California sales tax (7.25%)if applicable.  If your calculator is in break-down mode, send us the order and we’ll compute the charges for you and confirm them with you by telephone before shipping.  Shipping charges for 6 packs:  In California - $10.  Out of state - $22


As a thank you to quantity buyers, we are initiating a discount program:  10% discount on one case; 15% discount on two or three cases; 20% discount on four or five cases; 25% discount on orders of more than 5 cases.  


In the past we have not ordinarily shipped wine in quantities less than a case of 12 bottles (but wee the new 6 pack offer).  As a service to our customers we do assemble mixed cases to your specifications.  To compute the price, use the bottle prices listed, less the 10% case discount, plus freight and sales tax if applicable.


Thank you to the many who returned the survey.  You are the key to our continued success and Casa needs your feedback.  We are currently implementing many of the suggestions:


2 Bottles Casa Nuestra Dorado

3 Cups apple juice or cider

2 Cinnamon sticks

1 Orange, cut into quarters

10=12 Cloves (embedded into the skins of oranges)

¼ Cup honey (more if desired)

1 Mulling spice pouch* (optional)

 Simmer all ingredients together until hot – DO NOT BOIL – Serves 6-8

*Mulling spice pouches are available at liquor stores and some wine shops.  Mulling spices include dehydrated orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom.  You can put these spices in a piece of cheesecloth secured with a string (like a tea bag), or put them into the pot with all the other ingredients and strain before serving.