Muscat – The Oldest Variety of Grapes in the World

There are six main varieties of Muscat wine which comes from the oldest variety of grapes in the world, of which there are over 200 derivatives. The colors of the grapes range from white to almost black and all them have a very sweet aroma. This is one of the most commonly grown grapes in the world with wineries in many different countries producing wine from such vines.

The varieties of Muscat wine are:

• Muscat Blanc á Petit Grains. This has several different names depending on the country in which it is produced. It has the most sparkling flavors. You may recognize it in the name Spumante.

• Moscato Giallo. This wine variety is a colored version of the Muscat Blanc á Petit Grains. It also goes by names such as Goldmuskateller and Moscato Rosa.

• Muscat Hamburg. This is the name of the grape grown in Italy and Australia and is used to make red wines like Malbec that are consumed in the countries of Eastern Europe.

• Muscat of Alexandria. This variety of the grape is grown to produce liqueurs and sherry. The grapes have a very low acidity level and are high in sugar, which results in a lower quality of wine.

• Muscat Ottonel. This grape thrives in cooler climates and is used mainly in the production of dessert wines.

• Orange Muscat. This Muscat wine has a distinctive flavor of oranges. It is mainly used in California wineries for producing dessert wines.

Due to the many different varieties of the Muscat grapes, the tastes, aromas, and color of the wine vary from one region to another. Even the names of the grapes do not adequately describe their color as the Muscat Blanc grapes are not always white. Dry, light, heavy, and sweet wines result depending on the type of grape and the wine making process used.

You will find the Muscat grapes growing mainly in areas with a temperate climate, such as California, Australia, France, Italy, Spain and Greece. They are harvested very late in the growing season, which gives them a very sweet taste.

Table wines produced in Chile come from Muscat [http://www.wineaccess.com/wine/grape/Muscat] grapes and to a lesser degree in California and Italy. The Muscat Ottonel is the grape of choice in the wineries of the Finger Lake wine district of New York state. In Italy, it is mainly used to produce sparkling wines, such as Asti Spumante. In the production process for this wine, the grapes are stored in cold tanks after they are crushed.

The juice and the crushed grapes are warmed and allowed to ferment as they are needed. Then the product is sealed in large tanks that help to trap the carbon dioxide in the wine. Careful attention is paid to the fermentation process so that it is stopped once the wine achieves the right levels of sugar and alcohol. At this time it is chilled, bottled and allowed to age in the bottle.

The inexpensive bulk Muscat wines in the United States come from Orange Muscat and Black Muscat grapes grown by only one winery in Stanislaus County in California. Napa Valley wineries are known for the Muscat de Beaulieu, which is a fortified wine. This wine is also used as a blend in making Conundrum wine and in the ice wine called Vin de Glaciere.



Source of Muscat – The Oldest Variety of Grapes in the World by Sarah Martin – author of Muscat – The Oldest Variety of Grapes in the World article

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