Muscat Wines
Muscat Wines of South Africa

(In the 2010 Muscats du Monde International Wine Festival a South African muscat headed the list of theTop 10 Best muscats for 2010:

  • Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 2007 (Distel-Nederburg Wines)

Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains is called Muscadel or Muskadel in South Africa. It is grown primarily for the production of sweet dessert wines which may be fortified.

One of the world's most famous dessert wines was produced in South Africa, in the district of Constantia, south of Cape Town. In 1685 Groot Constantia was established in the area by the governor of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1712 the estate was broken up into three parts and the parcel purchased by the Cloete family became famous for production of the wine called "Constantia". The wine was brought to world prominence in the late 1770s. It was an unfortified sweet wine made from red and white Muscadel, Pontac and Chenin Blanc grapes. Napoleon ordered it when he was on St. Helena and it became the favorite of European nobility. By the 1860s the vineyard succumbed to phylloxera and powdery mildew and no wine was produced after the 1880s.. The vineyards were revived in the 1980s. "Vin De Constance" is now produced by Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia makes "Grand Constance". Both of these wines are made from Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains and are in the style of the original wine.

Muscat of Alexandria , called Hanepoot, forms a high percentage of South Africa's grape harvest. Hanepoot was one of the first cultivars brought to the Cape by European immigrants.. It is a versatile grape, used as a table grapes, in the production of raisins and grape juice. As a wine grape, it is best known for the production of sweet fortified wines, sometimes of the Jerepigo style (alcohol is added before fermentation to very ripe grape juice). Some vintners use it in semi-sweet blends and a little is used to make a varietal brandy.

A little Muscat of Ottonel is also grown in South Africa. It is used to make sweet and semi-sweet wines.

 
Muscat Wines of Spain

Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains is known in Spain as Moscatel de Grano Menudo but most Spanish Moscatel is made from Muscat of Alexandria (Moscatel de Alejandria). Sweet Moscatel (mostly simple and inexpensive) made from Muscat of Alexandria is grown all over Spain especially in Malaga, Alicante, Valencia and the Canary Islands. Some Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains is grown in the northern part of the country. Southern Spain grows Moscatel de Malaga, which is used (with Pedro Ximenez) to make the famous Malaga wines..

Moscatel can be used as a blend in the production of Madeira and is used to produce other sweet dessert wines (including Moscatel de Valencia). Sweet sherries (Jerez Dulce) are made either by fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes (less commonly used), creating sweet, dark brown or black wines, or by blending sweeter wines or grape must with a drier variety of wine. (These grapes are typically dried in the sun for two days after harvesting to concentrate their sugars.)

 

 
Muscat Wines of the Ukraine

Wine making has a long tradition in Ukraine dating back to the 4th century BC. It began in the southern Crimea and was later furthered by Orthodox monks in the areas of Kiev and Chernihiv. The first large winery in modern times (near Yalta) was established during the rule of Catherine II. The Crimea has a long history of fortified wine production as well as housing the national viticultural research facility at Magarach.

One of the oldest vineyards in the country is the Massandra winery, in the Crimea, which was built under the czar's direction in the 1890's. Extensive cellars and tunnels were constructed large enough to house over a million bottles of wine. Originally built to supply the czar's summer palace Livadia, the cellars are considered to be among the finest in the world. Today, the existing collection is one of the largest collections of old wines in the world containing vintages from 1775 (a Spanish sherry). The Massandra Library Collection contains at least one example of each wine. Extra wines are released for sale including some extremely rare bottles. Today Massandra is still an active winery but some wine writers believe that the quality of the wine is inferior to that made in the past.

Twenty eight different types of wines were made at Massandra. The wines produced were primarily fortified (Port and Madeira style) or dessert (Muscat, Tokay, Sauternes style). A small amount of red wine was also made.

Today viticulture in Ukraine is found in many vine-growing regions: Crimea (this region specializes in Muscat dessert wines), Bessarabia, Carpathian Ruthenia, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa Oblasts. The main grape varieties include: Aligoté, Muscat (white, pink and black), Traminer, Chardonnay, and Rkatsiteli.

There is a huge demand for sparkling wine in the region and Ukraine is one of the large exporters of sparkling wines (especially to Russia) with its flagship product - Sovetskoye Shampanskoye.

UKRAINIAN MUSCAT PRODUCERS
(All information from winery's websites)

ARTYOMOVSKOYE WINERY
Muscat Semidry Vintage Sparkling Wine
Manufactured in the traditional Champagne method. Aged one year. Light straw color, delicate rose flavour.

FRANTSUZKY BULVAR WINES
Semisweet White Sparkling Muscatel
This wine is produced with the use of technology of champagne manufacturing from muscatel grapes varieties with prevalence of Irsai Oliver (a Muscat hybrid) cultivated in the Company's vineyards in Saratsky and Ovidiopolsky districts of Odessa Region. The wine is of classical style and unique odour.

Muscatel: Semisweet White Table Wine
This semisweet white wine is made of white muscadine varieties of grapes with prevalence of Muscadine Ottonelle. Full muscatel array with pleasant taste and freshness of classical table wine.

Muscatel: Semisweet Red Table Wine
This semisweet red wine is made of Muscadine Ottonelle and Irsai Oliver muscadine varieties of grapes. It is a very soft wine; it is easily drunk and creates the aura of the classical muscadine aromas.


GOLDEN AMPHORA WINES
Nutmeg
This is a seductively golden sweet wine, produced from special Muscat grapes. Memorable aroma with hints of tea roses, carnations, acacia, as well as citron and honey.


INKERMAN WINERY
Muscat of Chersonesus
Muscat dessert wine made from Red Muscat varieties and Rose Muscat. Aged more than three months. Gentle Muscat aroma with tinges of rose petals and honey.


KOKTEBEL WINERY
Muscat Koktebel
White dessert wine. Made from White Muscat grapes grown in the winery's vineyards. The wine is aged in oak casks for no less than two years. Color varies from gold to dark gold. Flowery honey aroma. Complete harmonious taste.


MAGARACH INSTITUTE (UKRAINIAN ACADEMY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES)

Magarath was founded by Czar Nicholas I in 1828 to be a model of wine-making (and wine making research) and to further distribution of appropriate wine producing grapes to other wine producing areas of the country. As early as 1832 the Institute was sending vines to other regions of the Russian empire; by 1845 Magarach wines were also being distributed. There was an emphasis on and great success with the production of sweet dessert wines. The Institute still functions as the scientific research station of the wine industry. (Currently, as part of that role, the Institute holds an extensive cellar of over 22,000 sample wines that are "standards of type and quality".) Almost all the grapes grown by the Institute are used in the production of unique Crimean wines producing traditional and newly developed wines.

Muscat Pink Magarach
This pink liquorous wine is made from the Pink Muscat variety grown on the Southern Coast of the Crimea. The wine is made by the classic technology developed in Magarach at the end of XIX century. Its unique and delicate bouquet contains notes of Muscat and roses. The 1836 Muscat Pink from the Institute's Magarach collection is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest existing Russian wine.

Muscat White Magarach
This white liquorous wine is made from the White Muscat variety grown on the Southern Coast of the Crimea. The wine is made from grapes whose sugar content is about 30% and is aged in barrels for two years. Its unique and delicate bouquet contains notes of the tea rose, raisins, sage, and citrus fruits. The taste is mild, velvety with an aromatic honey tang and the unique combination of the sweetness and acidity. This wine has been produced since 1836 and has won 36 awards.


MASSANDRA WINERY

Dessert Rose Muscat
Produced since 1945. A dessert liqueur wine made from Rose Muscat. The grapes are grown on sunlit terraces on mountainous slopes from Foros to Mount Castel. Grapes are harvested when the sugar level reaches 29%. The wine is aged in oak barrels for two years. Beautiful rosy color. Fine mouth-filling Muscat bouquet with tea rose hints.

Dessert White Muscat
Produced since 1944. White Muscat vineyards are scattered along the sunlit Black Sea coast. The grapes are harvested when the sugar level reaches 29%. The wine is aged in oak for two years. The wine has a deep golden color and sparkles in the glass. Delicate when young, when aged it acquires flowery tinges of Alpine meadows.

Livadia White Muscat
Produced since 1892. Unique chateau liqueur wine. Made from White Muscat grapes that grow on the slate slopes of the Crimean Mountains. The grapes are harvested as late as possible when they become raisined and shriveled. Natural sugar level is 33%. Exhibits a classical muscat, flowery, honeyed bouquet with raisin flavour. "The wine enraptures like a divine nectar"

Massandra Black Muscat
The Black Muscat grape was brought to the Crimea in the first half of the 19th Century and was called Muscat Kallyaba. The wine is aged in oak barrels for two years The wine is a ruby color with a complex bouquet of chocolate, coffee, prunes and chamomile. Full, round and soft on the palate with a lingering aftertaste.

Massandra Rose Muscat
Produced since 1955. Made from the Rose Muscat grape harvested when the sugar level reaches 22%. The wine is aged in oak casks for two years. Color varies from light to tawny brown with red hints. Displays rose petal and honey on the palate.

Massandra White Muscat
Grown on all the Massandra state farms since 1981. The vintage is harvested when the sugar level reaches 20%. The wine is aged in oak casks for two years.

South Coast White Muscat
Produced since 1940 The White Muscat grape is harvested from seaside vineyards when the sugar level has reached at least 26%. Before bottling the wine is aged in oak casts for two years. The wine is full and well balanced with a light amber color.

South Coast Rose Muscat
Produced since 1945. A dessert wine made from the Rose Muscat grape. The grapes are grown on southern plots of land with slate soil. Grapes are harvested when natural sugar reaches 26%. The wine has a classical Muscat bouquet with suggestions of rose petals.

White Muscat of Red Stone
A unique wine produced from White Muscat grapes grown in sunlit vineyards around Red Stone Rock above the resort town of Gurzuf. The grapes are harvested when the natural sugar is 29%. The wine is aged in oak casks for two years resulting in a wine with a unique delicate bouquet with overtones of honey and orange. This wine has been called the KING of Ukrainian Muscats.


SEVASTOPOL WINERY
Krimskoye White Muscat Sparkling Semi-Sweet

Krimskoye White Muscat Champagne

Krimskoye Red Muscat Sparkling Semi-Sweet

Krimskoye Red Muscat Champagne

Muscat Original Krimskoye Semi-Sweet
Light orange color. Nose of apples and nectarines. Sweet with low acidity.

 

 
Muscat Wines of the United States
The United States is the fourth largest wine producing country in the world with most of the wine coming from California. Muscat is not mentioned in the list of America's most popular grapes. Regardless of this, Muscat, represented by a number of different varieties, is grown in many American states.

CALIFORNIA
Muscat in some form or another has been grown in California for a long time. Some cheaper Muscat wines are labeled as "Muscatel" while the finer wines are called "Muscat", "Moscato" or another appropriate varietal name.

The 2007 USDA, NASS ACREAGE STANDING lists Muscat of Alexandria as the most planted Muscat grape in the state, followed by Muscat Blanc A Petits Grains (Muscat Canelli), Symphony (a cross between Grenache Gris and Muscat of Alexandria), Muscat Orange (there is no expert consensus on whether this is truly a member of the Muscat family), and Muscat Hamburg (Black Hamburg). The grapes are used to produce mostly sweet varietal wines and many different blends ranging from dryish to sweet.

In addition to these varieties, California grows small amounts of some lesser known Muscat varieties: Early Muscat (a cross between Muscat Hamburg x Queen of the Vineyard), Golden Muscat ( a cross between Muscat Hamburg x Diamond), and July Muscat (a cross between four Muscat varieties).

Quady is a California winery that specializes in the lesser know Muscat grapes. It produces luscious dessert wines primarily from Orange Muscat  (Essensia)and Black Hamburg (Elysium). Other well known Calfornia Muscat wines are Muscat de Beaulieu, a fortified wine from the Napa Valley, Vin de Glaciere (icewine) and Conundrum (a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignan Blanc and Muscat Blanc A Petits Grains).

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Neither Oregon nor Washington show any variety of Muscat in their lists of major grapes grown by the state but some Muscat is grown in the region.

Oregon
Muscat Ottonel is found in the Columbia Valley and the Williamette Valley. Muscat Blanc A Petits Grains, Early Muscat and Black Hamburg are also grown.

Washington is very similar to Oregon. Some Muscat is grown including Muscat Blanc A Petits Grains, Orange Muscat, and Black Hamburg.

THE EAST COAST
New York state grows a hybrid Muscat grape called New York Muscat (a cross between Muscat Hamburg x Ontario). The grape was developed for colder climates and has an intense and sweetly-perfumed Muscat taste. It is primarily used for sweet dessert wines. Some ice wine is made from New York Muscat. There has been limited production of dry wines from this grape, similar to the dry Alsatian Muscats.

Producers on the East Coast also grow a newly developed hybrid (2006) called Valvin Muscat (a cross between Muscat du Moulin x Muscat Ottonel). The grape is highly flavored and ripens mid-season.

There is a sprinkling of the lesser known Muscats grown in other American states.
Black Hamburg: Colorado, Texas
Early Muscat: Oklahoma
Golden Muscat: Illinosis, New Mexico, Wisconsin
Muscat Blanc A Petit Grains: North Carolina, Missouri, Texas
Muscat of Alexandria: Missouri, New Mexico
Muscat Ottonel: New York, Virginia
New York Muscat: Missouri
Orange Muscat: Colorado, Texas,
Valvin Muscat: Colorado, Michigan

 
Muscat Wines of Tunisia

 

In Tunisia the art of wine making dates back to around 800 B.C during the time of the Phoenicians. After the Turkish conquest of 1574, wine production was forbidden. More recently, wine production resumed when Tunisia was a French protectorate (1883 to 1963). Most Tunisian wine was produced by French oenologists. Much of it was exported to France until the 1970s. Wine cooperatives now produce 80% of the wine which is consumed mostly by tourists. Since the privatization of some parts of these cooperatives Tunisia has successfully entered the international wine market. Small companies like Domaine Atlas, St. Augustin, Ceptunes, etc. have begun to establish the new generation of Tunisian wine.

Muscat of Alexandria had been and still is one of the important white grapes grown in the country.

Currently vineyards are concentrated in the regions around Nabeul, Bizerte, Tunis, Beja, and Jendouba. Seventy percent of Tunisian wine carries the French A.O.C. mark of quality with seven appellations of Mornag, Coteaux de Tebourba, Thibar, Kelibia, Coteaux d'Utique, Grand Cru Hornag and Sidi Salem.

The coolest regions are on the coast and northern Bizerte produces Tunisia's speciality: fine sweet Muscats. Some experts believe that Muscat has been produced here since Carthaginian times. (There are also well known sparkling Muscats are from Kelibia, Rades and Thibar.)

Kelibia (Cape Bon region) is located on the east coast and contains sandy and siliceous soil. Its A.O.C. Premier Cru Muscat de Kelibia is a dry, often oxidized Muscat wine. Ripe aromas of rose, lilac, peach and melon surge from a glass of this delicious wine.
These Muscat wines can be used as appetizer wines or served with seafood and grilled fish.

Beja-Jendouba region situated west of Tunis is home to the A.O.C. Cru "Thibar" There are Muscat wines produced by the Domaine de Thibar which markets sparkling wines as well.

Tunisian Muscat Wines
(We are having difficulty finding names of Muscat producers in Tunisia. If you have any information please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Muscat De Bou-Argoub
100% Muscat grapes. Pale yellow golden color. Recommended both as an aperitif and for dessert.

Muscat Sec de Kelibia. 2006. Les Vignerons de Carthage. Appellation :Muscat de Kelibia. 13% alcohol.
"An endearing Muscat fragrance, fresh and crisp on the palate with a hint of raisiny flavours, nicely done" Andrew Stevenson. December 2009
"Light straw colour. Lovely Muscat nose with mouth-watering grapey aromatics and tropical fruits. Clean acidic style, perfectly dry." Francis Gimblett. August 2009
Perfect with seafood or as an aperitif.

 
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