Confessions of an IMU: A Call to Arms
by Roger Dial
Reader Comments... [12]

Michael Blaylock, Winemaker
Quady Winery, Madera, CA
Roger, it seems like only yesterday (only an old fart like me can think 1983 was yesterday) that I told my fellow aspiring practitioners of winemaking alchemy at Fresno State that I was going to work for Quady Winery making port and Muscat wines. With their derisive snickering still in my ears I found that Andy Quady had stumbled upon an ancient secret for turning Orange Muscat grapes into an elixir fit for kings and pharaohs. Our Essensia Orange Muscat dessert wine has risen, much like a Phoenix, as a vanguard in proclaiming the hedonistic virtues of Muscat. From those early 1980s until today we have been challenging the paradigm. The IMU has been a long time coming. I have a feeling that the rumble and ground swell has been repressed for too long. Forward Muscat Marauders!!!

Roger Dial, Publisher
Appellation America, CA
Michael, thanks for your comments. It could well be that us
Muscat guys are just a bunch of old farts, as you say, but surely we
can attribute our longevity, if not the other condition mentioned in
your post, to our persistent consumption of Muscats. At any rate, if
you keep on producing those beauties at Quady we can all test the longevity hypothesis...or just fade away in a blissful aromatic haze.

~ Roger

Dan Berger, Editor-at-Large
Appellation America, CA
Hi. I have been a silent, spiritual member of the IMU for a long time, though I didn't know there was a real society for me. I am the sole member of the MIA (Muscat Incognito Assn.), after futilely inviting some SAMs to join me. And now, thanks to you, I have a way to emerge from the closet! (It's hard to drink in the dark.) It's time to fling open millions of other doors and let other closeted IMUers out. There is no shame in liking Muscat! Call me a slut if you will. Moreover, I have another passion: the love of DRY Muscats! Yes, there is yet another category worthy of praise. Sugar is fine, but the dry version is a delight. Those of us who are truly dedicated are in love with the dry stuff that the Alsacienne pronounce moos-kah. This sub-category of Muscat is truly arcane, and in need of your support. (And there is no need for an IDMU.)

Roger Dial, Publisher
Appellation America, CA
Ah, yes, Herr Berger...dry Muscat is like romance on a "higher" plane, cerebral and seductive at the same time...suitable for us more mature (read: older) romantics.

~ Roger

Jim Anderson, Co-owner
The Anderson, Fortrose, Scottish Highlands
As an American living abroad, I carry with me an unconscious image of the "paper bag on a park bench" reputation of Muscat. Elsewhere, however, there is no such prejudice, as Muscat is recognized as a seminal variety of grape. One exception to that open-minded opinion was when the Quady Muscat wines were paired with haggis at our Burn's Night supper in January 2006. The Quadys themselves were there to host, and despite some bewildered "where's my whisky" expressions on the faces of some of the guests, the consensus was that the sweetness of Muscat was the perfect foil to the peppery spiciness of the haggis. We are proud to have the Quady dessert wines (as well as dry white Muscat from Alsace) on our wine list at The Anderson.

Roger Dial, Publisher
Appellation America, CA
Jim, you may finally have the key to a market "breakout" for
Muscat..."the wine that'll lift yer kilt, laddie!" As a resident of
New Scotland in Canada, I'm damn well not going to another Burns
dinner without a dram or two of Muscat in the generous pour that
accompanies the haggis.

~ Roger

Mike Pollard, Blogger
San Diego, CA
A Muscat here, a muscat there. And then there is the real deal -- Rutherglen Muscat from Victoria Australia (dating back to the 1850s-60s). Made from the Muscat a Petit Grains Rouge, or Brown Muscat, it is fortified, so there is alcohol to enhance all that sweet richness. Defined by age and residual sweetness into 4 wine styles, this is one of the great wines of the world and ridiculously inexpensive for the time and labor involved. The Muscat of Rutherglen Network made its way out from underground in 1995, primarily to address the loss of sales and falling consumption of Rutherglen Muscat. The eight founding members of the group are: All Saints Estate, Bullers, Campbells, Chambers, Morris, Pfeiffer, Seppelts, and Stanton & Killeen. This year the Australian Government’s Advancing Agricultural Industries program provided $500,000 AUD to The Muscat of Rutherglen group to enable the industry to undertake extensive domestic and international research into current consumer attitudes to fortified wines, research into alternative names for Tokay and Sherry, and develop strategies to communicate the changes to industry and consumers in domestic and international markets. Those Aussies lead the way, don’t they!

Tilak Sinha, Asst Sommelier
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, CA
Been sipping and suggesting the moreish Quady Muscats all over the world. Great wines, period. Pavlova of soft, fluffy meringue baked to a crisp shell, lashings of whipped cream, bejeweled with seasonal fruits and berries and a chilled glass of Electra Orange Muscat or a Prunotto Moscato d'Asti...Lobster tail wok seared with a Thai green curry and fresh coconut milk with a Kabinet Muskateller from Dr Heger...Heirloom melon sorbets with Graff Family Vineyards July Muscat...Vintage Christmas pudd with brandy butter, custard and an ancient Chamber's Rutherglen Muscat...Guava pannacotta with Willi Opitz' BA Muscat Ottonel...Thanks for hearing the confession of this IMU. It's a relief to know that I've such esteemed company!

Tom Peay, Retired
San Diego, CA
I have enjoyed Quady dessert wines for years and absolutely love his Orange Muscat - Essensia. I recommend it to all my friends and ask for it restaurants that don't have it on their wine list. The only suggestion I have for improvement of Quady's outstanding wines is that he consider printing "Free Tibet" on his corks. I believe this small bit of advertising genius would convince some SAMs to give the Muscat a try and finally drop their misguided snobbery and join us IMUs.

~ Tom

Geoff Cadman, Novice Taster
Yorkshire, England
Dear Roger,

What a challenge you threw us but, undaunted, we set off in search of the amber nectar you so gaily, nay boldly, wafted under our cold, runny British noses. We had an awful job trying to acquire anything like the variety you expounded upon but I do believe we finally tracked the ultimate little devil down and simply had to tell (although I don't yet feel comfortable asking for full membership of the IMU). We found the aroma was at its most appealing after exposure to wood smoke through a stiff, swirling breeze, ideally with a `nip O` the North` aboot it, if ye 'ken? The one we sampled was very difficult to come by but eventually arrived via FedEx and we eagerly set about a sampling session. A little earthy when it first hit the front palate, after chewing it around a while and concentrating on a long swallow, its true character came through in a lingering afterburning, although by this time the sugary sensation one of your correspondents spoke of, had definitely passed `Go` and was headed for the Community Chest! Truth to tell, although we enjoyed it while it lasted, we don't think we could wait quite as long as for the next one to arrive. We actually suspect our one was definitely a little "off" so could we ask if you know of anywhere in North Yorkshire that could supply us?

Yours, A&G.

PS. Do you recommend your particular favourite brand of Muscrat to be barbequed or broiled?

Roger Dial, Publisher
Appellation America, California
Dear A&G,

Though I have never tried Muscat with muskrat, I am prepared go
immediately to the conclusion that copious amounts of Muscat would
surely improve such a meal. Nor would I be too picky about which of
the numerous varieties of Muscat was poured; any would suffice... come
to think of it, ALL would be even better, and don't forget the
fortified Muscats... perhaps, in this case, as a starter.

But you
raise another issue, well known to IMUs around the world. That being
the problem of supply. Muscat producers are few and far between, and
retailers with the courage to proffer such elixirs are also scarce.
Being situated in tropical Yorkshire, you're efforts at an effective
pairing for barbecued muskrat are undoubtedly exacerbated. My dear
friend, the late Gillian Pearkes produced some stunning Muscat down
in Devon in days of yore. I recently had her 1988 Yearlstone Rosa
Muscat and found it profoundly good after all these years.
(Parenthetically, I should mention that "profound" is a term that can
only apply to Muscats in the whole vinous taxonomy.)

It has been
some time since I tramped the dales of Yorkshire, but I'm wondering
if perhaps it may not be equally difficult to procure a muskrat? Sad
to say, but you may be stuck drinking your Muscat on it's own. I
assure you that it tastes good that way too.

~ Roger Dial

Bruce Randau, Winemaker
Randau Di Giuliano, Wickliffe, Ohio U.S.A
A dry, deep, shimmering gold, enticing, aromatic,delicious and hipnotic fruit of the Gods.
This is my Golden Moscato. With an Alc.
content of 15%, and a very slight hint of
sweetness, (honey like), with notes of almonds, peaches and pears. My treasure
among my varieties.