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by Fred McMillin
for August 10, 2000

 

Fireworks


Prologue

Electra  
Chemical engineer Andrew Quady thought the fireworks were over when he left his pyrotechnics job in Southern California to obtain a Masters in Food Science and Winemaking at U.C.-Davis.

Then, in 1980, he started working with a little known grape variety, the orange muscat. Author James Halliday: The orange muscat dessert wines have powered the Quady empire ever since, accounting for about half of the sales...none of these muscat wines is easy to make, but Quady has demonstrated absolute mastery.

The fireworks were not over!


The Rest of the Story

Muscat memories...

Man's first wine was probably made from a member of the Muscat family.

In the Middle Ages when the Popes resided at Avignon near the mouth of the Rhone River, they came to appreciate the local Muscat wine so much that in the region it still is called "the nectar of the popes."

Four centuries later the district started making sweet, dessert, Muscats. It was these that served as a model for Andrew Quady as he began developing his own version. One of them is our...


Wine of the Day

Electra California Orange Muscat Wine, 1999
Winemaking—Heat transfer is a major topic in chemical engineering. Andy uses much of it in making Electra. He transfers plenty of heat OUT of the Muscat juice, as he ferments it at unusually low tempertures to maximize the unique orange blossom-apricot aromas and flavors. Then, he stops the fermentation by putting the yeast out of action with even lower temperatures. Could the popes do this? Well, a Frenchman did invent the first refrigeration machine. His name was Ferdinand Carre, but it was created four centuries (1862) after the popes were sipping Muscat. Andy was creating something new, with magnified aromas and flavors.
Character—Plenty of acid to balance the sweetness. Alcohol is a low 4%. I like it on melon-vanilla ice cream.
How long aged in barrels before bottling?—Are you kidding? No oak. No aging. It's bottled within three weeks after termination of fermentation. It has just a touch of fizz.
Contact—Phone (559)673-8068, FAX (559)673-0744. Ask them how to make a delicious Electra Sorbet.
Price—$8 range


Postscript

Where's the Winery? It's in the hot California Central Valley at the town of Madera. That is also the name of the surrounding Madera viticultural area of 600 torrid square miles. When we last checked there was only one crop in the area generating more income than wine grapes: table grapes.

  • For More on Electra—See the Sept. 15, 1998 WineDay titled, "A Quady Honoree".

     
    About the Writer

    Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

     
     


    This page created August 2000

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