Andrew Quady started making wine in the mid 1970's. Working for a major wine company he moonlighted to produce his own ports and in 1980 experimented with Orange Muscat, ultimately making an amazing floral fruit character wine that he called Essensia. In 1990, Quady decided to produce a new type of dessert wine, light, delicate and very refreshing. He tasted Orange Muscat juice as it was turning into wine. When the juice was just on the verge - halfway between wine and grape juice, he bottled a test batch. The wine tasted wonderful, but the alcohol was only 4% (most wines are at least 11%). Using sterile filtration to prevent refermentation, he bottled it anyway and named the new creation Electra.
Learn More About Other Dessert
Beyond Port and Sherry, here are a few of our favorites:
Sauternes – the golden wine of the Sauternes region in
Bordeaux, these wines are made with botrytis-affected
grapes and produce a rich, honeyed concoction with an amazing balance of sweetness and acidity.
Don’t discount Sauternes'
neighbor, Barsac, or even the region across the river, Loupiac. Made in the same style, wines from both regions
carry a lower price tag but deliver the same quality.
Ice Wine – Ice wines are made from grapes that are picked in the dead of winter. The
grapes shrivel and then freeze, concentrating the sugar and protecting the grapes. Ice wine is a luscious nectar-like wine
- the best are from Canada (Inniskillin) and
Germany, made from grapes like
Riesling and Vidal (found in Canada).
Tokay – The Hungarian wine from the region of the same name. Drunk by European kings for centuries, Tokay is another
botrytis-affected wine, but made in a different fashion than most. Tokay comes in levels of sweetness, called puttonyos. The
higher the puttonyos, the sweeter the wine. For pure nectar, try Tokay Essencia, a wine so delectable, it's drunk by the spoonful.
Stickies – Australian sweet wines made most often
from botrytis-affected Muscat or Muscadelle.
because that’s what the juice is like. Typically a darker color, stickies are classically from Rutherglen and Glenrowan,
in the Australian state of Victoria.
Late harvest and botrytis – Sweet wines from some regions are frequently labeled as "late-harvest," meaning
were picked later than usual, with increased ripeness levels and sometimes with botrytis. You may see a wine called "botrysized,"
to indicate this. Late-harvest wines are made with grapes with a higher level of sugar.
Some wines to find include: Beaumes-de-Venise,
Alsace Vendage Tardive, Late-harvest Muscats.
Learn More About California
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA
, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA
, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA
, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.