Quady Winery: California’s Sweet Spot
The International Wine Review recently had the opportunity to taste the portfolio of California’s Quady Winery. The portfolio includes California versions of Port, Sherry, and Vermouth, as well as Quady’s unique dessert wine creations. All Quady’s wines are well-made and excellent values.
Andrew and Laurel Quady are California’s foremost sweet wine producer bar none. Located in Madera in the central San Joaquin valley, Quady specializes in Port and Muscat –based wines. A graduate of UC, Davis, Andrew began producing Port in 1975, but the introduction of Essensia in 1980 is what really gave Quady world-wide recognition.
Quady Palomino Fino, Madera ($30) 90
Made from biodynamically grown Palomino grapes, the deep orange tawny Palomino Fino is an Amontillado style sherry made using the solera method. This is a very ripe and aromatic fino with a dried orange peal character, but it actually tastes more like an amontillado with its rich, complex flavors of nuts and caramel. This superb fino would do Spain proud.
Quady 2007 Electra Madera ($13) 88
Electra is made from Orange Muscat grapes vinifed to only 4% alcohol. Shows dried orange aromas and a spicy, crisp and refreshing palate with a touch of spritz. Perfect for Indian food.
Quady 2007 Red Electra Madera ($13) 88
This delicious moderately sweet and low alcohol (5%) wine has the appearance of a medium ruby rosé with aromas of rose petal, cherry and red berries. Delicious and ripe on the palate with a semi-dry finish. Perfect for the lover of sweet wine who wants to minimize alcohol intake.
Quady VYA Extra Dry Vermouth Aperitif, Madera ($20) 87
Vermouth is a fortified wine infused with aromatic plants. The VYA Extra Dry is made from a blend of Colombard and Orange Muscat grapes and dried herbs including lavender, angelica, and linden. It shows aromas of cinnamon and spice and strong herbs and is pleasantly rich on the palate with strong flavors. There’s a touch of bitterness on the finish, most likely reflecting the high phenolics of the Orange Muscat variety. Serve chilled with a creamy white cheese.
Quady VYA Sweet Vermouth Aperitif, Madera ($20) 88
The VYA Sweet Vermouth has a dark tawny color and aromas of cinnamon and clove, with touch of ginger. It has a rich mouth feel. This is a delicious aperitif for Indian food and is beautiful served well-chilled over the rocks. 16% alcohol.
Quady Starboard Vintage 1996 Amador County ($20) 89
Mde from traditional Portuguese varieties like Tinta Cao and Touriga Nacional, the dark tawny vintage port shows aromas of cinnamon, and clove with touch of ginger. Delicious with a rich mouth feel, and a great aperitif for Indian food.
Quady’s NV Batch 88 Starboard ($23) 92
This is Quady’s entry level non-vintage Port, although they can’t legally call it that. Has a powerful nose of dried plum, raisin and chocolate and a complex, layered palate with flavors of dried fruit, nuts and chocolate with spice notes. Made mainly from what the Portuguese call Tinta Roriz, but everyone else calls Tempranillo.
Quady 2007 Essensia Orange Muscat Madera 750 ml ($20) 90
Made from Orange Muscat, a rare grape seldom grown in the US, the Essensia is an absolutely lovely and refreshing dessert wine. Its golden orange appearance is strikingly attractive, and it has apricot, pear, lychee and orange zest aromas and flavors that would go wonderfully with a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Serve well chilled.
Quady NV Elysium California Black Muscat 750 ml ($20) 88
A very ripe and unctuous wine that begs to be accompanied by a chocolate mousse or crème brulée. Very aromatic with scents of cherry and ripe fig and flavors of red berry jam. Quite lovely. Try with blue cheeses.
Quady NV Deviation 375 ml ($25) 89
This amber-flecked, deep gold wine is gorgeous just to look at. Deviation is truly an exotic wine, essentially an herb-infused Orange Muscat Essencia with lovely ripe peach, apricot jam, and tea flavors. What to serve to jaded dinner guests.
Quady Oregon Wines
Herb Quady, son of Laurel and Andrew is winemaker at Quady North, located in Oregon’s Applegate Valley. The Quady family purchased its current Southern Oregon property in 2005 and began planting in 2006. While waiting for the vines to mature sufficiently to produce good wine, the Quadys purchase fruit from some of the finest vineyards in Applegate Valley.
Quady North 2006 Cabernet Franc Applegate Valley ($35) 88
A very approachable, fruit-driven wine that goes equally well before or during dinner. It has enough fresh plum fruit to make it easy to drink by itself and firm enough tannins to give it the structure to take on hearty fare. Barrel-aged for 18 months, it shows good balance and has none of the herbaceous typical of the varietal. It is made from a blend of fruit purchased from the dry-farmed vineyard of Frank Ferreira.
Quady North 2006 Syrah 4-2, A Rogue Valley ($25) 89
Although the Rogue Valley is hot, this Syrah has a Northern Rhone nose of roasted meat, smoke, and dark red fruit. The palate is sweet and ripe but nicely balanced with good acidity that offsets the ripeness and flavors of ripe dark plum with smoke and vanilla notes from the 12 months’ aging in 90% new French oak. Made with mainly whole berry fermentation. Should evolve nicely with additional time in bottle.