The 1998 GAN EDEN Black Muscat is a unique wine, produced entirely from Black Muscat grapes grown in Don Gallagher's vineyards in Manteca, California. In all of California, only around 63 acres of this grape are cultivated. Gallagher represents one of the largest growers of this varietal in the state. GAN EDEN originated a style of Black Muscat which was, at the time (1992), unique. Our wine differed from the few other Black Muscats produced in California at that time in that it is not brandy fortified, but instead was fermented at cold temperature and the fermentation was stopped using chilling and filtration. Of course, the success of GAN EDEN Black Muscat in the marketplace has spawned several wines, targeted for the kosher market, which are similarly styled. Ours remains the most successful of the lot (and I would also maintain that it remains by far the best) by any objective standard, though it is slightly more expensive than its competitors.
Our Black Muscat is a late harvest wine. Our winemaker, Craig Winchell, had the grapes harvested at 26° brix, and the wine was fermented to around 10.5% alcohol and around 8% residual sugar. This wine retains all of the floral and spicy aromas characteristic of muscat grapes, while exhibiting the cherry and berry aromas and flavors found in red wines in general. This was a very difficult wine to produce, and we are quite pleased with the results. Our Black Muscat was just released Spring of 2001, yet won 13 medals in competition that year, including two Golds. This wine has won 14 medals in 2002 (making it one of the most highly decorated wines in California that year), and 9 medals already in 2003. Over the years, our Black Muscat wines seem have become the favorites of numerous consumers. They certainly seem to be our most discussed wines in the general market, given their unique sensory qualities, and each vintage has become the most heavily purchased wine in the tasting room of the Sonoma County Wineries Association. As a kosher wine, it has inspired quite a few imitators (the latest being Herzog Black Muscat), but they never have attained the quality level or market stature of GAN EDEN, the original. Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.
GAN EDEN was established in the spring of 1985 in the Green Valley viticultural district of Sonoma County. Our first attempt to produce a late harvested red wine, the'92 Black Muscat, took 10 medals in 1993, and was still winning in 1994. The 1993 won an extraordinary 16 medals in 1994, as well as receiving a Gold in the Dallas Morning News competition in 1995. The 1994, too, received an amazing number of medals, including golds. The 1995 vintage was similar, but far less sweet (due to harvest conditions) and garnered fewer medals. The 1996 and 1997 each won too many medals to keep track of, and we expect the same from the 1998. Both 1999 and 2000 vintages are in the works.
This wine has a beautiful light red color, with rose petal and cherry aromas and spicy cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors. Our GAN EDEN 1998 Black Muscat is delicious by itself, or complementing a wide spectrum of desserts. It is especially good with dark chocolate. This is certainly one of our finest vintages to date, exhibiting and extra degree of richness which was lacking in someprevious vintages.
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