Back in the day I used to taste a lot of Quady. It’s been a few years now, and it’s good to see they’re right on course. Quady got their start in the late 1970s when they began specializing in the fairly arcane area of sweet dessert wines. They’re still at it. I’ve always had a soft spot for underdog wineries, of which Quady is certainly one: Americans aren’t drinking many dessert wines these days, for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, Quady persists, and more power to them. These are wonderful wines; the whites in particular are very low in alcohol and delicious.
NOTE ON THE 3
ELECTRA MOSCATOS: I enjoyed these on their own, but I also tried adding some
sliced ripe strawberries, and some good sparkling water, along with a couple
ice cubes. Very refreshing!
Red Electra Moscato (California);
$15. This is the red version of Quady’s Electra Moscato, which includes the
white and rosé bottlings. It’s just as sweet as the others, with residual sugar
of 17.6%. The color is ruby-garnet, and translucent. Like its siblings, it’s
utterly delicious, with cherry, raspberry, fig, vanilla cream and white pepper,
accompanied by a bit of fizziness. Very high acidity provides a cleansing
finish. A great success at this price. I have to say how much I enjoy all three
of these Moscatos; they’re super-drinkable, at low alcohol (5.5%). Score: 92
Electra Moscato (California);
$15. This white wine pours clear and straw yellow. It looks dry—but it isn’t!
One sniff tells you it’s a sweetie. Honey, orange blossom, apricot preserve and
a subtle clover-leaf aroma make you want to taste it immediately. It is
sweet enough to drink as a dessert wine with, say, vanilla butter cookies, or
even on its own. The sweetness is balanced with refreshing acidity (the total
acidity is a high 9.2). All in all, a bright, clean, satisfying wine whose low
alcohol—a mere 4.5%–may inspire you to drink a lot of it. It’s also just a
little fizzy. Food-wise, I like the winery’s recommendations, which range from
fruit salad to Indian food to spicy Asian. I’ll give this wine 91 points for
its sheer likeability.
Electra Moscato Rose (California);
$15. Same price as the white Electra
Moscato, a percent higher in alcohol, but still, at a mere 5.5%, pretty low.
The blush color is a pretty salmon-pink. It’s a bit sweeter, but the main
difference is the range of flavors: deeper, fruitier, more flowery, more
honeyed. With lower acidity than its white sister, it’s also more mellow. Both
wines are just fine. Tremendously versatile at the table, and a perfect
warm-weather sipper. Tasting this rosé on a warm summer day, I think of
beaches, pools, gardens. I think of watermelon, ham, fried chicken, pot
stickers, Chinese roast pork, sushi, prosciutto-wrapped melon, cheesecake,
vanilla ice cream, butter cookies. Score: 91.
Essentia Orange Muscat (California): $23. In this sweet wine, you’ll find delicate
flavors of Mandarin orange, apricot and honey. The residual sugar, for you
factoid freaks, is 17.4%, which is high, but the acidity (8.6%) also is very
high, which balances the wine, so it’s not insipid. There’s a wonderful
creaminess, which I suppose comes from brief oak barrel aging, and also from
the nature of the Orange Muscat grapes from which the wine was made. Alcohol is
high—15%, due to some fortification with a brandy-like spirit, which stops the
fermentation so that some residual sugar remains. I would certainly enjoy this
wine with cheesecake. Score: 90 points.
(California); $32. Most Americans are
unfamiliar with sherry-style wines, which of course originate from Spain but
have been reproduced successfully here in California. This bottling was made
from the Palomino grape variety—the real sherry grape in Spain–grown in the
Central Valley city of Fresno, a hot area where Palomino thrives. It’s made in
the authentic sherry…
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