Italy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lillian Carefoot   
Friday, 09 December 2011 03:53

In addition to being one of Europe's most important wine producing countries, Italy is one of the oldest. Grapes were cultivated by the Etruscans in the 8th century BC. Muscat wines have been part of the Italian wine scene for centuries. There is conjecture that Sicily's "Muscato di Noto" is the ancient wine "Pollio" to which Pliny the Elder referred when he wrote that it "is born on Sicily and has the flavor of must".

The Muscat grape most commonly grown in Italy is Moscato Bianco. It is the fourth most commonly grown white wine grape in the country and is cited in 17 Italian DOCs. This aromatic grape produces wines that are characterized by floral aromas with peach and citrus overtones. It is widely used in Italy for lightly sparkling, or Frizzante wines, the most famous of which are Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti from Piedmont. Most of the non-sparkling Italian Muscats can be categorized as having varying degrees of sweetness. The strongest and sweetest Muscats are the specially made "Passito" and "Liquoroso" wines. The most notable exceptions to all this "sweetness" are Muscat de Chambave from the Aosta Valley which is an ancient and impeccably made dry table wine and the drier, crisper Muscats from the Trentino region.

In Trentino-Alto Adige some very special Muscat wines are made from differently colored variants of Muscato Bianco. Moscato Rosa is pink berried with aromas of roses and Moscato Giallo (also called Fior d'Arancio) is yellow berried with aromas of orange blossoms. Both these grapes produce light bodied richly scented wines. They are the only wines of the region that can be produced either sweet or dry. Many consider the sweet versions to be extraordinary.

Muscat of Alexandria (Zibibbo) is used to produce the famous Sicilian Moscato di Pantelleria wines (including Passito, Liquoroso, and Dolce verisons).

Last Updated on Friday, 09 December 2011 03:59