Muscat Grapes
Aleatico

Aleatico, a red grape variety grown in Italy, has been thought to be a mutation of Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains and more recent DNA profiling supports a strong parent child relationshiop with Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains. The grape has a strong Muscat odour and makes fragrant, deeply colored, flowery wines. Most Aleatico wines are sweet with a high alcohol content . Some of the better known Italian wines are Aleatico de Portoferraio, Aleatico di Puglia,  and Aleatico de Gradoli.

Aleatico is known as "Red Moscatel" in Chile. There are some plantings in New South Wales and California.

 
Aleatico Synonyms

 

Aleatico is known by a number of different names.

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Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (Muscat Blanc)

This Muscat grape is thought to be the oldest known variety of Muscat and the one with the most concentrated flavors. Jancis Robinson calls it "the most noble sort of Muscat". The grape usually has small, yellow skinned berries but variations in color can run from pink to dark reddish-brown.

 

This grape is widely but not extensively grown and is said to produce the best Muscat wines. The vine is vigorous, spreading, and low yielding. Bunches of fruit are medium size, elongated and compact. The berries are smallish, usually round, transparent, but becoming opaque on maturity. The flesh is firm and very sweet with the juice having the characteristic flavor of musk.

 

The grape is used to make dry table wines, frothy sparkling wines and many different kinds of sweet dessert wines. It is also used in the creation of innumerable blended wines, as a major component or a ‘bit player".

 

In France, this grape is used in six appellations d'origine controlee (AOC) of a type known as Vin Doux Naturel (VDN). There are four AOCs in Languedoc: Muscat de Lunel, Muscat de Cotes du Mireval, Muscat Frontignan and St-Jean de Minervois. The VDN of the Cotes du Rhone is Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and the VDN of Roussillon is Muscat de Rivesaltes. In northern Rhone, the grape is blended with the Clairette grape to make Clairette de Die wines. Muscat de Cap Corse is made in the northern part of Corsica. Alsace produces luscious dry Muscats.

 

Greece has long been famous for its Muscats, especially in Samos and Patras.

 

In Italy the most famous Muscat a Petits Grains wine is Asti or Moscato d'Asti, a low alcohol sparkling wine from Piedmont. Other regions in Italy use the grape to produce a variety of sweet fortified dessert wines

 

In Australia, the grape makes dense, sticky, fortified, barrel aged wines in the Rutherglen region. (Liqueur Muscats)

 

South Africa is famous for Constantia wine, made in the district of Constantia, south of Cape Town

 

In Hungary Muscat Blanc is used as a blend in its famous Tokay wines

 

The United States, especially California, produces light table wines, sparkling wines, and a spectrum of sweet dessert wines.

 
Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (Muscat Blanc) Synonyms

Because Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains is grown in so many countries, it is known by a wide variety of names. It is difficult to generate a comprehensive list but here are some of the better known synonyms for the grape.

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Muscat Hamburg Grape

Muscat Hamburg is a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Trollinger (Schiava Grossa). It comes only in the black berried form producing plump shiny fruit. This grape is grown chiefly as a table grape but can be also used to produce wine.  It is considered by some to make the lowest quality of the wine made with Muscat grapes. In Eastern Europe (Serbia, Macedonia) the grape produces light, dry red wines with some Muscat aroma and it is starting to gain popularity as a table wine ingredient in China. As a dessert wine, in the right hands, it creates a wine with a characteristic aroma of roses and a lichee, melony character to the taste. In the United States it is grown in California, Virginia, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Quady Winery in California makes a deeply colored, aromatic wine called "Elysium" from this grape. In Canada Black Muscat wine is produced on Vancouver Island.

 
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