Newly emerging wine regions are intriguing because they are not bound by tradition and can experiment with new ways of doing things. And so as I explore San Diego wineries, I am continually finding unexpected gems—such as this white wine made from a grape called Symphony. Symphony has been around for years as a blending grape, although a few scattered wineries have made it as a stand-alone varietal, most notably Ironstone’s Obsession. Designed to stand up to the hot weather of California’s Central Valley, this cross of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris, was developed at UC Davis by Dr. Harold Olmo and was first introduced commercially in 1981. Most of the versions of Symphony I have tasted have been off-dry, or sweet, which makes Ramona Ranch’s experiment so interesting—it is bone dry and bursting with flavor.
The intensely perfumed nose unfolds to reveal lime and prominent floral aromas, with spearmint-like spice notes intermingling with the mineral scent of wet stones. The dry, medium-bodied palate opens softly with a creamy mouthfeel, but bristling acidity creeps up on you making for a crisp, kinetic mid-palate with flavors frolicking like a slightly mad colt. The finish is quite chalky reminiscent of a fine Chablis. I detect no oak.
Neither grassy like Sauvignon Blanc nor tropical like California Chardonnay, there is room in the wine firmament for this strikingly original wine.
San Diego is known for its red wines but is still finding its way with the whites. I hope more vineyards follow the lead of Ramona Ranch and make Symphony a prominent part of their line-up.
Visit their winery to taste this unique and exciting wine.
And as you raise a glass, open your eyes with Dan Black’s “Symphonies ft. Kid Cudi”
“Gimme, gimme symphonies
Gimme more than the life I see”
Cross-posted at San Diego Wine and Food