Symphony — No it’s not the name of a blend. This is a grape varietal. It is one of the several cross-clonal hybrid grape creations by University of California, Davis viticulturist Dr. Harold Olmo. He’s known for quite a few, including Ruby Cabernet (cross-breed Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignane) and Emerald Riesling (cross-breed Moscadelle and Riesling). Gaining in popularity is the Symphony grape, a hybrid of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris.
Developed by Olmo in 1948, it took him nearly 40 years to perfect the clone, and it wasn’t released for commercial use until 1984. He developed the white grape to withstand the downright hot climate of California’s Central Valley, however today it seems to thrive best in cooler temps, with most plantings found in either Lodi or the Sierra Foothills. But their’s one woman brave enough to take the plantings to her even higher, cooler climate AVA of Yorkville Highlands. And in so-doing, she’s crafted a beautifully floral-forward wine that’s unlike any other. It must be the work of the wine queen herself — Theodora Lee aka “Theo-patra.”
About the Wine: The Theopolis Vineyards 2015 Yorkville Highlands Symphony is made from 100% Symphony grapes, harvested from Mendocino County’s Yorkville Highlands AVA. The juice was fermented and the wine aged in 100% stainless steel.
Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on the Theopolis Vineyards 2015 Yorkville Highlands Symphony and breathe in child-like aromas of sour candy apple. This unique white wine pours perfectly clear. In the glass, you’ll find the slightest film of a cream-like color, though you may struggle to see it. Initial aromas are of lemon-lime soda, those green candied apples, nasturtium flower nectar. Swirl, and find an herbal, sap-like scent, reminiscent of the weeping liquid from freshly pruned vines.
The palate of this Symphony is actually quite full, smooth, and more floral than fruit-forward. In fact, it is very much like drinking perfume. The abundance of aromas may give a perceived sense of sweetness, but I assure you this is not a sweet wine. There is a very thin, but working acidity that rides throughout the tasting from start to finish. The finish is almost textural in its dryness, alleviating the palate from those initially intense aromas. Dominant flavors are of lemon-lime, fresh floral perfume, green grass, kefir lime leaf, and dried apricot.
Food Pairing: I paired the Theopolis Vineyards 2015 Yorkville Highlands Symphony with a (very) spicy chickpea and potato curry served with wilted spinach and plain basmati rice. The wine’s abundance of floral aromas, along with the “perceived sweetness” quality, perfectly cut through the heat in the dish — a meal that, to my palate would have been too spicy without this wine. On the other side, this dish seemed to put the Symphony into context — like the back beat to a good song. This wine needs a dish like this. I much preferred this food and wine pairing to sipping on the Symphony on its own.
More Info: I received the Theopolis Vineyards 2015 Yorkville Highlands Symphony as a sample for review. (Cheers Theodora!) Retail: $22. For more information about Theopolis Vineyards, their wine and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Theopolis Vineyards website.
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