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Wine Club Newsletter - July 2015

Curing a Hangover the Ancient Egyptian Way

Far be it from me to suggest that some of us may overindulge, but here are a few “cures” that I found interesting to consider. Remember the old saying, ”Rehab is for Quitters!”

Sticking your head in a hedge is a common result of overindulgence in wine, but it's also a cure, apparently.

July 2015

By Claire Adamson | Posted Saturday, 16-May-2015

Forget the greasy breakfast and reruns of 30 Rock – the ancient Egyptians have offered up a new hangover cure for those who perhaps had one too many glasses of Muscat of Alexandria the night before.

The catchily-named Oxyrhynchus Papyrus – a collection of medical texts from 2000 years ago – suggests that those suffering from a "drunken headache" should wear a necklace made of Alexandrian laurel around their neck. This is meant to ease any ill effects from overindulgence, and potentially worked by causing a lot of self consciousness that served as distraction from the headache at hand.

Alexandria laurel is native to the eastern Mediterranean and is thought to be the very same laurel associated with winning Olympians and poets. It also goes by the name of Danae racemosa as well as Poet's laurel, which begs the question – will this hangover cure turn your drunken ramblings into beautifully constructed prose? Probably not. The ancient Egyptians were great wine drinkers, using wine for ceremonial purposes as well as for leisure.

Depictions of winemaking have been found on tomb walls, along with raucous party scenes. Interestingly, the unpleasant after-effects of overdoing the wine have been recorded in the same way. It therefore makes sense that they would have had their very own addition to the world of dubious hangover cures, joining snails rubbed on the forehead (the Romans) and downing a pint of buttermilk (the Scots).

The papyri were dug up as part of a major excavation of an ancient rubbish dump at Oxyrhynchus in 1896, and experts have been translating the almost 500,000 documents since. The collection of medical texts that forms the 80th volume of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri has offered historians new insight into medical practices in ancient Egypt.

The document is nearly 2000 years old and contains doctors' notes, recipes and details of surgical procedures, as well as writings by Hippocrates, the father of western medicine and Galen, an important Greek physician.

To overcome the effects, every nation has its own techniques – with often surprising recipes.  According to a survey by National Geographic Magazine, these include pickle juice in Poland, tripe soup in Romania, a mix of tomato juice and raw egg yolk in the United States, shrimps in Mexico, green tea in China, coffee in Italy, beer in the Netherlands, and plums with tea in Japan.

But these remedies are disputed by doctors: they say the caffeine in tea and coffee increases cardiac risk (already high in a hangover) and contributes to dehydration of the body. And they certainly disapprove of drinking beer the morning after, which can only make matters worse.

However, it is advisable to drink water regularly and in large quantities, because alcohol causes rapid dehydration – a liter of water lost for four drinks – which amplifies hangover symptoms such as headaches.

To properly slow down the passage of alcohol in the blood, it is advisable to eat before drinking. Studies show that dark alcohol (whisky, brandy, red wine, dark rum) are more likely to cause a hangover than clear alcohol (white wine, vodka, white rum).

But the best hangover cure is time. "Only time will eliminate alcohol and there is no miracle potion," notes the French National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES). The level of alcohol begins to decline one hour after the last drink and it takes about one hour and 30 minutes to eliminate each glass of alcohol."

2012 Gallegos, Red Wine, Dos Hermanos

Growing Region:  Napa Valley, California
Varietal Blend:  96% Cabernet Sauv., 4% Petite Sirah
Fermentation:  French Oak
Alcohol Content:  14.9%
Suggested Retail:  $40.00
WineSellar Club Case Price:  $40.49  90-92 Points in The Wine Advocate!!!

Broad Strokes:
From The Winery:
Dear Wine Friends and Family,
More than 50 years ago, Ignacio Gallegos left Mexico and settled in Napa Valley, bringing knowledge of working the land and gaining a passion for growing exceptional quality wine grapes. Ignacio Jr. learned from his father’s hard work that creating wine is the final expression of what begins to be crafted in the vineyard. Respect for all stages of winegrowing is a philosophy imparted to sons Ignacio III and Eric Gallegos. From Grandfather, to son, to grandson, lessons learned have been handed down through our childhood among the vines. Now we want to share with you our knowledge, pride and love for wine through Gallegos Wines.
Sincerely, The Gallegos Family

Nice looking package overall, good heavy bottle. The wine has a dark cherry skin hue, which becomes brighter magenta on the rim.

Fresh, deep black raspberry compote, with black cherry, mineral, and notes of toasty oak. Gentle and clean, with shades of Mocha, graham cracker, white pepper, a bit of tar and a rumor of feusal alcohol.

Excellent fruit and acid balance on a New World-styed wine with an Old World grape, Petite Sirah. Firm acid, ripe creamy fruit, drying somewhat on the finish due to the youth of the wine.

Dark cherry and raspberry, black fruits and dark earth. Some clay, mineral, chalk, granite tones are an excellent counter to the dense fruit. Also notice the toasty oak, black walnut and lychee nut. Becoming more French-like as it airs (meaning complex and silken).

Serving Suggestions:
The winery and critics say at least 20 years in the cellar, but it is great right now. Fantastic with foods of all kinds that demand full-bodied red wines.

2012 Jelly Jar Zinfandel, Nova Vineyard, Old Vines

Growing Region:   Lake County, California
Varietal Blend:  100% Zinfandel
Fermentation:  10 Months 30% New French Oak
Alcohol Content:  14.6%
Suggested Retail:  $25.00
WineSellar Club Case Price:  $22.49

Broad Strokes:                    
Husband and wife team, Andy and Shannon Pestoni, have been producing Jelly Jar Wines since 2005. The wines are handcrafted by Andy, a fourth-generation Napa Valley native with roots dating back to the late 1890s. Making wine has always been part of the family heritage and Andy and Shannon continue the winemaking tradition with Jelly Jar. The organically farmed Nova Vineyard lies on a gradual slope of bench land in the Kelseyville area of Lake County. For more than 40 years, these head-trained, dry-farmed Zinfandel vines have taken deep root in the site’s volcanic soils.

90 Points in The Wine Enthusiast!!!

Good looking easy to decipher label, which I really like. It has very dark plum and garnet hues, bright magenta around the rim, dark/nearly back at the center of the glass.

Dark fruits are forward and lovely, including blackberry, raspberry and a touch of fig and prune. A deft scent of vanilla oak is lovely. Notes of black pepper, blueberry and cola/root beer are wonderful!

Super creamy and smooth, the texture is nearly unreal for a wine. It kind of goes backward, in that it’s soft and fruity upon opening, and then leans up as it airs out. The wine is full of fruit, lush, silky, ripe, juicy and dairy-like.

The flavor profile leaves a lasting impression of ripe blueberry/blackberry/raspberry fruit laced with wood vanilla and a hint of coal/smoke. And a root beer float, equipped with chocolate, vanilla, cherry, dairy (ice cream), with some hazelnuts. Keeps evolving and becoming more complex as it leans up with air.

Serving Suggestions:
Don’t confuse this wine with a simple quaffer because it is so easy to drink. Let it air and evolve, and you can enjoy this as a cocktail wine, with BBQ, pizza, steaks. It will cellar for 5-7 years, but it drinks so well right now it’s hard to resist it.

2011 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Peterson Vineyard

Growing Region:  Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
Varietal Blend:  96% Cabernet Sauv., 4% Petite Sirah
Fermentation:  16 Months, 100% French Oak
Alcohol Content:  14.9%
Suggested Retail:  $85.00
WineSellar Club Case Price:  $71.99

Broad Strokes:                    
Switchback Ridge Wines are sourced exclusively from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The property has been in the Peterson family since 1914 and encompasses nearly 100 acres located at the mouth of Dutch Henry Canyon. For over 75 years the property was primarily maintained as a farm and plum orchard, with vines intermingled amongst the trees. In 1990, the orchards were replanted to vineyard, where there are currently 18 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah vines, in addition to a three acre 50+ year old Petite Sirah block that John Peterson helped plant as a child. Winemaker Bob Foley began his winemaking career in 1977, working at a number of highly regarded Napa Valley wineries including Pride Mountain Vineyards, where he spent 15 years as founding winemaker.

92 Points in The Cellar Tracker!!!

The label is not an easy read. I like the logo and design of it, just as a wandering consumer, may pass it up on the shelf. Deep ruby red/black hue, great looking wine.

Great fragrances of dark cherry, ripe plum, sage, smoke, roasted nuts, wood and Indian spices. Later some delightful strawberry fruit popped up. Complex, a winner.

Texture is a big winner on this wine. Good density of fruit, and balanced perfectly by an acid that is firm but not biting. Sweet and elegant, strong and seamless, and a GREAT long finish!

A fabulous integration of sweet dark fruits such as blackberry, currant, dark cherry and very ripe plums. The oak treatment has a phenomenal presence, and gives me an essence of chocolate and vanilla candy, especially with that sweet acid structure.

Serving Suggestions:
This wine will go for decades, and deserves to be in our wine cellars for our enjoyment some ten years from now.

2014 Monopole Rioja Bianco, CVNE (Cune)

Growing Region:  Rioja, Spain
Varietal:  100% Viura
Fermentation:  Stainless Steel
Alcohol Content:  13%
Suggested Retail:  $15.00
WineSellar Club Price:  $12.59
The 2013 version of this wine was rated #46 out of the Top 100 wines by The Wine Spectator!

Broad Strokes:                    
From my first sip of this wine, I knew it was a winner for our WineSellar Club!
A couple years ago we took a tour group to the facility and were totally wowed by the winery structure and the wines. The winery is situated on top of a hill, and when viewed from the outside, resembles the upper portion of a giant wine barrel. The above- ground portion houses the winemaking facility, which was designed with the goal of complete reliance on gravity-flow, made possible in large part by a giant rotating crane in the center of the circular winery. It was awesome!

In France, the word “Monopole” means an area that is controlled by a single winery. I like that inference, and really like that is the most prominent word on the label. It is pale green/gray in color.

Good fruit essence of kiwi, honeydew melon, fennel, dill, mandarin orange, mineral, and red apple. Also some nice notes of slate and iron, with clean, fruit-driven aromatics.

There is a clean, lean entry on the palate with a good verve and a suggestion of fizz (without having any). Mouthwatering, even, smooth, it is medium-light in weight but long on the palate. Finishes up very well!

The Honeydew melon is foremost in flavor, with kiwi fruit, and mandarin orange. Kind of got a “peaches and cream” note, with some apricot. Hints of green olives and dill provided a slight green essence, which is rounded and well-integrated. From the nose comes the slate, iron, adding stone, chalk and a sort of grapey feel.

Serving Suggestions:
As mentioned, I loved this wine from the first sip. It is great all by itself, and excels with shellfish, fresh oysters, and steamed mussels. I am proud to present this wine to you, and will be serving it often with friends at BBQs and picnics this summer.

Eggplant, Summer Squash Stack with Pea Pesto with Tomato Sauce (Separate Recipe)

Here is a different and delightful version of Pesto Sauce Lori Parker came up with while scavenging through the refrigerator. It looks like a large task, but it is relatively simple to make. They look great, and taste wonderful. It’s a cool side dish you can make ahead of time and put together easily for a dinner party.

Eggplant Stack Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced ib ½” rounds
  • 2 medium summer/yellow crookneck squash, sliced thin long ways
  • 8 thin slices Gouda cheese
  • 1 Cup of fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/8 Cup of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Tablespoon, or to texture and taste, high quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Teaspoon pine nuts
  • Salt & Pepper

Eggplant Stack Method

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lay eggplant out on a paper towel and sprinkle salt on the tops & then turn them over and do the same on the other side. Let stand & sweat for about 10 minutes. Rinse the salt off and put onto a fresh paper towel. Then take another paper towel and pat out excess water. Use a pastry brush to apply EVOO lightly on each side.      
  3. Brush some EVOO onto a cookie sheet and bake the eggplant in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Do not over cook, as they will be warmed again. Set these to the side.
  4. Put a little EVOO into a skillet on medium temp. Lay the squash slices flat on the pan and salt and pepper them. Cook for two minutes, and then turn the slices over & cook until the squash starts to become translucent. Take out of pan and set to the side.
  5. Put peas in a tiny amount of water, EVOO, salt & pepper. On medium heat, let the peas cook until they are bright, softening and full, around 3 – 5 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Place basil leaves, pine nuts, EVOO, and garlic into a food processor or blender. Add the peas, with the tiny bit of water they were cooked in. Blend until it slightly course but creamy. Taste & see if it needs more EVOO or salt/pepper. Keep at room temperature.
  7. When your tomato sauce is ready and hot (you can make the day before) then you’re ready to assemble your stacks.
  8. Start with one Eggplant round, put one slice of gouda the size of the eggplant round on top, then add one layer of squash, then another round of eggplant, and then another layer squash, then the last round of eggplant and the last slice of cheese. Take a piece of foil or cookie pan, brush with olive oil, and place your stacks on the foil/pan. Put in a toaster oven or oven at 350 degrees until hot through … careful not to over-cook.
  9. Take your hot tomato sauce and put it on the plate. Then lift the stack(s) on top of that and pour some more tomato sauce over the stack. Top with a dollop of your pea pesto.

Tomato Sauce

This sauce is relatively simple to make, and improves over a day or two of refrigeration. You should net about a cup of the sauce, which is enough to cover about 8 of the eggplant stack-under and over. It is fantastic with all red wines, especially if they are Italian in origin.

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 Whole Shallot, chopped fine
  • ½ Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 ounces of White wine
  • 2 Ounces Vodka
  • 2 Ounces Dry Sherry
  • 2 Ounce fine Maple Syrup
  • Dash of Red Chile Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Truffle salt
  • Black Pepper

Tomato Sauce Method

  1. Heat a good-sized saucepan on medium, and add the olive oil, shallots and garlic. Cook until they begin to become translucent.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and the chicken stock, stirring them together. Cook on low heat to reduce by 1/4.
  3. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer to eliminate the pieces of shallots and garlic. You can mash them through the sieve with your spatula if you like.
  4. Pour the sauce back into the pan.
  5. Add the Vodka, Sherry, maple syrup and red chile pepper.
  6. Reduce by ¼ again and remove from heat until ready to serve.
  7. Add the truffle salt and black pepper to taste. 

Finished dish.

Tomato Sauce

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