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Muscat 

Muscat grapes - wikipedia.org

The muscat variety of grapes of the species Vitis vinifera is widely grown for wine, raisins and table grapes. Their color ranges from white to near black. Muscat almost always has a pronounced sweet floral aroma. Muscat grapes are grown around the world in Macedonia, Cyprus, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Israel, France, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Australia, South Africa, California, Oregon, Canada, Italy, Albania, Turkey, Slovenia, Mexico, and other places. The breadth and number of varieties of muscat suggest that it is perhaps the oldest domesticated grape variety, and there are theories that most families within the Vitis vinifera grape variety are descended from the Muscat variety. Indeed, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have analyzed pots from King Midas's burial mound and determined that Muscat grapes were a key component of the alcoholic beverage served at his funeral feast.

Varieties of Muscat Grapes

  • Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (also called Muscat Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Muscat Frontignan, Moscato Bianco, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat d'Alsace, Muskateller, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Moscatel Rose, Sargamuskotaly and Yellow Muscat). This grape is used for the wines: Asti, clairette de die, and muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. It is also used for some Tokaji wines.
  • Muscat Rose a Petit Grains, Muscat Rouge a Petit Grains, Moscato Giallo (or Goldmuskateller), Moscato Rosa (or Rosenmuskateller) are thought to be closely related colored versions of Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains.
  • Moscatel de Setubal and Moscatel de Favaios are the most widely consumed varieties in Portugal, usually served in bars or as an aperitif at restaurants.
  • Muscat of Alexandria (also called Moscatel, Moscatel Romano, Moscatel de Malaga, Muscat Gordo Blanco, Hanepoot, Lexia, Moscatel, Gordo, and Zibibbo) This grape is used for sherry, moscatel or muscatel wines, Moscatel de Valencia, Muscatel Passito and other Muscatel liqueurs and also as a raisin and table grape.
  • Muscat Ottonel (also called Moskately) Used for dessert wines in Romania, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, and dry wines in Alsace, Slovakia and Hungary.
  • Black Muscat (also called Muscat Hamburg, Moscato di Amburgo) Used for some Eastern European wine but mainly for table grapes in Italy and Australia. A dessert wine made from this grape is produced in California and Cyprus.
  • Orange Muscat. Used for dessert wines in California and Australia. Not surprisingly, has something of an orange aroma.
  • Muscat Crocant. Used for dessert wine of the same name (Muskat Krokan) in Serbia, where it grows only on Pearl Island (Biserno Ostrvo) on Tisza River.
  • Moravian Muscat. The most widespread new wine cultivar in Czech Republic.

All together there are a couple of hundred Muscat varieties recorded, with many overlapping synonyms.

Muscat wines

Muscat grape wineyard in Mendoza, Argentina - wikipedia.org

Table and sparkling wines

Muscat grapes are one of the major varieties grown for table wine in Chile, and is a minor variety in California and Italy. In Italy, it is widely used in sweeter sparkling wines like Asti. Their 'grapey' quality makes many wines made from Muscat easy to identify. Moscato d'Asti is a lightly sparkling (frizzante) variety of Muscat, made from the Moscato Bianco (Muscato Canelli) grape of the Piedmont region of Italy. This region has a DOCG designation, and is also known for the production of Barbera d'Asti, Dolcetto d’Asti, and Asti Spumante. In Lithuania, it is also used for making a sparkling wine called Alita.

Dessert and fortified wines

Muscat grapes are used to make a variety of sweet dessert wines in various parts of the world. Typically, these are fortified wines, though some sweet late harvest and noble rot wines are also made from Muscat grapes.

Muscat is widely grown in Portugal and Spain, where the grape and the wines produced from it are known as Moscatel or Muscatel. Moscatels made in these countries are typically sweet and fortified. Among these wines is Moscatel de Setubal a sweet fortified wine from the Setubal Peninsula in Portugal. Moscatel de Favaios is a Moscatel from the Douro Region. A Moscatel Madeira wine has also been produced on the island of Madeira, although Moscatel has become increasingly rare there over the last century.

In Spain, sweet fortified Moscatels are produced in a number of regions, notably Malaga and Jerez, and are sometimes made using the solera system. A variety of muscat is one of the varietals used in the production of sherry and according to Spanish law, it is one of only three grapes varietals allowed for this purpose.

Muscat is successfully grown in California's east-central San Joaquin Valley, where orange muscat and black muscat varieties form the basis of premium dessert wines.

France also produces a number of sweet fortified vins doux naturels from muscat grapes, such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Lunel, Muscat de Mireval, and Muscat de St-Jean Minervois.

In Australia, sweet fortified muscat wines are produced in the Rutherglen region, with older wines made according to the solera system.

Brandies and liqueurs

Muscat wine is also the basis for Pisco, a brandy-like drink made in Peru and Chile, and Metaxa, a brandy-like drink made in Greece.

A blend of Muscatel wine and mead is called Muscadore.

Chemistry

Muscat grapes contain a number of compounds that give muscat wines their distinct flavor.

Muscat grapes have been found to have high concentrations of antioxidant flavonoids, in quantities as high as many varieties of red grapes. This means that the possible beneficial effects of red wine consumption may also be present in muscat wines.

Muscat Wines by Country

Australia

Brown Muscat has pride of place in north-east Victoria's Rutherglen district, and is generally regarded to be one of the world's greatest fortified wines. High quality Muscats are also produced in other mainland states. Riverina producer Miranda makes a raisined Muscat in passito style.

Austria and Hungary

In both Austria and Hungary, Muscat wines ranging from dry to very sweet are produced. Muscat is one of the varieties grown in the Tokaj region of Hungary. In Austria, Muscat ("Muskateller") is mostly grown in Southern Styria.

Bulgaria

Muscat Ottonel is grown in the Black Sea region and in the Danubian Plain, while Muscatel is a well-known style in the Rose Valley.

Cyprus

Muscat dessert wines are also produced in Cyprus, analogous to those produced in Greece. Also dessert wine from Black Muscat can be found in Cyprus

Czech Republic

Moravian Muscat is mostly grown in the region of South Moravia.

France

Muscat is best known for producing

  • Vins Doux Naturels (Natural Sweet Wines) in Frontignan, Lunel, Mireval, St Jean De Minervois, Rivesaltes, Beaumes de Venise and Cap Corse.
  • Alsace Muscat is primarily dry, but can also be made in sweeter styles (Vendange Tardive and Selection de Grains Nobles)

Greece

Muscat dessert wines (moschato) are produced on Samos, Rhodes, Patras and Cephalonia. Dry Muscat table wine is produced on Lemnos.

A number of towns are named Moschaton (Μοσχάτο) after the Greek name for the grapes.

Italy

Muscat (Moscato) grows throughout Italy in various forms. In dessert form it is either passito or fortified, but it also appears in sparkling wines (Asti spumante and Moscato d'Asti) . One of the best is the Moscato di Trani, made on Adriatic in the town of the same name in Apulia.

Japan

Muscat of Alexandria is grown in Okayama Prefecture for juices and sweet white wines.

New Zealand

Muscat is used for dessert wines.

North Africa

Fortified Muscat wines are produced in Tunisia and Morocco.

Portugal

Muscat (Moscatel) makes the much-revered Moscatel de Setubal and Moscatel de Favaios among others.

Romania

Romania has Muscat plantings for various dry and sweet styles. Among the most well known varieties of Muscat produced in Romania are the wines from the regions Jidvei, Murfatlar and Dealu Mare.

Moldova

Moldova wine producers offer various dry and sweet Muscat wines.

Serbia

Known locally as Tamnjanika, sweet muscat wines have been popular in Serbia since the Middle Ages. They are grown mainly in the Zupa region of western Serbia, near Mount Kopaonik and also in the Negotin region in the Danubian basin.

Spain

Fortified Muscat (Moscatel (Spanish) or Moscatell (Catalan)) is produced in Andalusia, the Valencian Community, Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia, and the Canary Islands.

It is also used to produce some dry white wines — sometimes blended with other grape varieties.

South Africa

Muscat is known as Muscadel or Hanepoot (Literally: Cockerel's Foot, reputedly from the shape of the vine's leaves, although there is a theory that it is a corruption of hanekloot which means: Cockerel's Testicle from the shape of the grapes themselves), and can be either red or white. Like Australian Muscats, these can be high-quality fortified wines while Constantia is known for late-harvest Muscat of great standing.

Turkey

Muscat grapes are produced in Ankara and Central Anatolian Region.

Ukraine

The Crimea region is home to dessert wines of reverence, with white, pink and black Muscat being given pride of place.

United States

There are muscat dessert wines from the black muscat and orange muscat varietals that are produced by one premium winery in California's Stanislaus County, an area better known for the production of inexpensive bulk wine. Muscat wines produced in California also include the Muscat de Beaulieu, a fortified wine from the Napa Valley; the Conundrum wine, which is a blend of Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; and Vin de Glaciere, which is an artificial icewine made from late harvest Muscat grapes. Carlo Rossi, a popular brand of wine produced by Gallo Family Vineyards, produces its own Red Muscat Wine. In Oregon, Muscat Ottonel is used by Purple Cow Vineyards of Forest Grove, Oregon, which creates a dry, fruity, aromatic white wine similar to those found in Alsace. In New York's Finger Lakes Region Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery produces an Orange Muscat dessert wine. A state that is not as widely known to grow and bottle the muscat grape is Texas. Messina Hoff Vineyards in Bryan Texas bottles a late harvest Muscat Canelli.

Tea

Darjeeling tea is often said to have a flavour reminiscent of muscatel, although the similarity is purely coincidental as the tea contains no grape products.

Muscat tea, a (non-alcoholic) flavor of iced tea, similar to the better-known lemon tea and peach tea flavors, is available in Japan. In Japan muscat is also a popular flavor for soft drinks and desserts. Products range from a muscat-flavored Calpis, to muscat-flavored ice being sold at Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants all over Japan. The color usually associated with Muscat-flavored products in Japan is green.

Data provided by wikipedia.org