Friday, January 8, 2010

2007 Ironstone Obsession Symphony

There are a handful of wines that I keep on hand as enjoyable everyday wine. These are wines that pluck the right flavor harmonies and can be uncorked (or unscrewed) without the need for ceremony or special occasion. Ironstone Obsession, made with the Symphony grape, is such a bottle I like to keep within easy grasp.
My wife is not a big Chardonnay fan. She is turned off by the heavy oaking that predominates many of the buttery Chards. As a result, we have tried a lot of different white varieties.

 I discovered this about five or six years ago and was captivated by its drinkability. It has floral aromas and crisp and clean fruit flavors. This is a bit sweeter than our normal fare, with residual sugar of 1.7%. The uniqueness of the grape variety is also a great conversation starter.

When first sampling this wine, I had to do a bit of detective work. I wasn’t sure if Symphony was the name of a proprietary blend, a vineyard or what exactly. I learned that Symphony is a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris. It was created at the University of California at Davis in 1948 (by Dr. Harold Olmo). It thrives in the mineral rich soils of the Lodi and Sierra Foothills wine growing districts.

The Kautz family founded Ironstone after spending decades as grape growers beginning in the 1940s. Ironstone has the most significant plantings, of this unique grape variety.

With over 5,000 acres of vineyards in Lodi and the Sierra Foothills AVAs, the Kautz Family is one of the top 10 winegrape growers and top 10 family-owned and operated wineries in the United States. In addition to the Ironstone Winery and Entertainment Complex, located in the Sierra Foothills historic Gold Rush town of Murphys, the Kautz Family owns and operates the Bear Creek winery facility located in Lodi, California. The family currently produces and globally markets six wine brands including Ironstone, Ironstone Reserves, Christine Andrew, Sonoma Creek, Dog Tail Vineyards and Leaping Horse Vineyards.

The QPR (Quality Price Ratio) is superb for this wine. It costs about $8 – if you can find it. Although not expensive, it’s outside the domain of many stores that carry only mainstream grape varieties.

Obsession Symphony pairs well with many types of cuisine, especially ones that are on the spicy side. Obsession is great with Pad Thai or other Thai dishes. The hot curry found in Indian cuisine is cooled by Obsession’s fresh fruit flavors.

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