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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for May 8, 2000


Nothing Ordinary

The Winemaker Isn't Ordinary

Etienne Cowper  
His first degree was not in winemaking, but in Cultural Anthropology! His Masters Degree (with honors) was in Agricultural Chemistry. His name is Etienne Cowper, (pictured).

The Grape Isn't Ordinary

It's one of the rarest variations of man's ancient winemaking grape, the Muscat; in Italian, the name is Moscato Fior d'Arancio, or "orange blossom muscat."

The Rest of the Story

A few years ago I received a note from Etienne. "We have planted 25 acres of unusual varietals, including Moscato Fior d'Arancio. It is destined to become a truly luscious dessert wine."

The prediction is looking good. At a recent Culinary Institute of America (Napa Valley) Tuscan feast featuring Italian varietal wines grown in California, what was poured at the end of the meal? Etienne's Moscato. I see it also has started winning medals...including an award from the large New World International Tasting. Let's get it on...

The Wine of the Day

'97 Moscato Fior d'Arancio (mos-cah-toe feeor dar ahn-cheeo)...just ask for "Orange Muscat."
Brand name—Castelletto, a label of the Mt. Palomar Winery
Location—Temecula (the coolest, highest winegrowning district between San Diego and Los Angeles)
Meal Planning—Serve with a citrus-flavored dessert, that's not too intense or too sweet to upstage the wine...lemon tart...or, my wife makes a delicious grapefruit sorbet that, with crisp cookies, paired beautifully.
Ordering—Call (800) 854-5177, FX (909) 694-5688
Cost—$16 for 375 ml.

Postscript—It's Scarce

There are over 4,000 acres of other wine vines in California for every acre of Orange Muscat.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created May 2000