690 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
extinction. It is no wonder that biologists created a whole new branch of
study, ampelography, whose adherents can make a living just identifying
and classifying grapevines.
Here are wines from some unusual varieties I found on my excursions.
With each I give a bit of background about the grape and then a review of a
wine or two made from it. All but one can be found at most Liquor Distribution
This variety is a cross of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris (another
rather unknown grape) created by Dr. Harold Olmo at UC Davis in 1948. Dr.
Olmo, who developed over 30 grape varieties, focused on breeding wine
grape varietals that could be utilized in the hot growing conditions of California's
Central Valley. The best known is probably Ruby Cabernet, which
makes a light, pleasant red but is generally blended into “jug wines”. However,
Symphony did not thrive in that hot weather, being better suited for
cooler areas such as Lodi and Sierra Foothills inland, where it has since
Wine from Symphony has a silver-lemon colour mixed with greenish
tints. Aromatically, it has distinct floral characteristics from its Muscat heritage.
Generally, it has also been used in blends or produced as a sweet
dessert wine. But a few producers are making a table wine. Here is one offdry
IRONSTONE OBSESSION SYMPHONY 2015
Napa, CA #355784 $16.99
It has the expected pale lemon colour, and as expected due to its Muscat
heritage, the main aromas are floral and fruity. They include honeysuckle
and orange flower, lemon citrus and some apricot stone. The slightly effervescent
and slightly honeyed palate shows some tropical fruit, yellow
peach and ripe apple. The finish is characterized by a lingering mineral-like
notes. The alcohol level is twelve per cent. It will go well with slightly spicy
foods, such as Indian or Thai food, buffalo wings, or a white fish or corn fritters
with a green or fruit salsa. For a cold lunch, one might also try a smoked
salmon terrine with dill and lemon.
Despite the fact that most of us have had Greek wine (usually in a Greek
restaurant), and that the Greeks have produced wine for thousands of years,