Muscat (or Moscatel)
Muscat is the world’s oldest known grape variety and has grown around the Mediterranean for centuries. Early records show Muscat was shipped from the port of Frontignan in southwest France during the time of Charlemagne. Actually, Muscat is a family of grapes with more than 200 varieties. The grapes range from white to almost black. And the wines vary from fine and light—even sparkling—to deep, dark, and sweet. Muscat is the only variety that produces aromas and flavors in wine just like the grape itself. Among the most familiar of the Muscat varieties are:
Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains considered the best of the Muscats. It’s responsible for the sweet, fortified Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise; for Italy’s sparkling Asti; and for Clairette de Die. The grape is also known as Muscat Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Moscat d’Alsace, and Moscatel Rosé, among others
.Muscat of Alexandria thought to date back to the ancient Egyptians. It’s most widely grown in Spain and is one of the three varieties permitted in making Sherry. The grape also goes by Moscatel de Málaga, Moscatel, Moscatel Romano, Moscatel Gordo, and Gordo Blanc, among others.
Muscat Ottonel a lighter flavored grape. Also called Muskotaly, it’s used for dry, perfumy wines in Alsace and dessert wines in Austria.
Muscat Hamburgused primarily as table grapes. However, eastern European winemakers produce thin red wines from it. It’s also called Black Muscat and Moscato di Amburgo.