varietal

Muscat de Frontignan

From article 'Muscat' downloaded 3/17/2018 jht

Muscat blanc à Petits Grains is known by many names worldwide, including Muscat Blanc (white Muscat) in France and the United States), Muscat Canelli in the United States, Moscato Bianco (white Moscato) in Italy, Muscat Frontignan in South Africa, Moschato in Greece, Brown Muscat in Australia, Muskateller in Germany and Austria, Muscat de Grano Menudo in Spain, and Muscat de Frontignan and Muscat Lunel in France. While the "petits grains" in the grape's name accurately describes the small, round berries of the vine, some wine experts, such as Oz Clarke, believe that the term "Muscat blanc" is misleading, since the grapevine is notorious for its frequent color mutations siring clusters of berries in nearly every shade possible though most commonly the grape berries are a deep yellow after veraison. In some vineyards, vines of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains are known to produce clusters of berries of different colors that change every vintage.[5]

The precise origins of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains are not known, though Greece and Italy can both make compelling cases due to the proliferation of clones, mutations and offspring.[3] Today, the grape is found throughout the wine-producing world, making a wide range of wine, from light, sweet sparkling and semi-sparkling Asti and Moscato d'Asti wine in the Piedmont wine region of Italy and Clairette de Die region of France, fortified vin doux naturels (VdN) in southern France in AOC regions such as Muscat de Beaume de Venise, Muscat de Saint-Jean de Minervois and Muscat de Frontignan, fortified Liqueur Muscat in the Victoria wine region of Rutherglen in Australia, to dry wines in the Wachau wine of Austria and Südsteiermark.[5]

Nearly all the most notable sweet Muscats of Greece, particularly those from the island of Samos and the city of Patras on the Peloponnese are made from Muscat blanc à Petits Grains. In the history of South African wine, the famous dessert wine of Constantia was made from this variety of Muscat and while today Muscat of Alexandria is more widely planted in South Africa, producers around Constantia are trying to reclaim some of the region's viticultural acclaim by replanting more Muscat blanc à Petits Grains and making wines in the style of the original Constantia.[3]

[AS VERSUS]:

Muscat of Alexandria

The berries of Muscat of Alexandria clusters are larger and more oval-shaped than those of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains

While the grape's name harkens to the city of Alexandria and suggest an ancient Egyptian origin, DNA analysis has shown that Muscat of Alexandria is the result of a natural crossing between Muscat blanc à Petits Grains and the Greek wine grape Axina de Tres Bias. Though as Axina de Tres Bias has also been historically grown in Sardinia and Malta, the precise location and origins of Muscat of Alexandria cannot be determined. Compared to Muscat blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat of Alexandria tends to produce large, moderately loose clusters of large oval-shaped berries that are distinctive from the much smaller, round berries of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains.[5]

Like most Muscat varieties, Muscat of Alexandria is notable for being a desirable raisin and table grape. This is due in part to the grape's high tolerance of heat and drought conditions. While it is used in wine production (most notably on the island of Pantelleria between Sicily and Tunisia, where it makes a passito style dessert wine under the name of "Zibibbo"), the grape lags far behind the reputation of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains. This is partly because Muscat of Alexandria is very vigorous and prone to produce high yields that can be easily overcropped as well as a more assertive aroma profile due to a higher concentration of the monoterpene geraniol, which produces a geranium scent, and lower concentration of nerol which a more fresh, sweet rose aroma.[5]

In France, Muscat of Alexandria is most prominent as a blending component (with Muscat blanc à Petits Grains) in the VdN wines of Muscat de Rivesaltes AOC in the Roussillon wine region. The grape is the primary Muscat variety in Spain, where it is known as Moscatel, though the majority of the country's plantings are used for table grapes and raisins, rather than for wine production. Likewise, in Chile, most of the Moscatel in that country is used to produce the distilled drink "pisco".[5]

In South Africa, Muscat of Alexandria is known as "Hanepoot" and was the fourth-most widely planted white wine grape variety in the country until the early 2000s. While some of the plantings were used for wine production, particularly for fortified wine, many plantings were used for the production of grape concentrate and raisins.[4] In California, there is still more plantings of Muscat of Alexandria than any other Muscat variety, with most of these grapes going into anonymous jug wines from the Central Valley.[5] As in many other places in the world, the grape had a long history of use in the United States as a raisin variety, though in the 1920s, plantings of Muscat of Alexandria began to decline as producers turned to more popular seedless grape varieties.[3]

Last edited on 3/17/2018 by sweetstuff

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