Muscat, also known as Moscato, Muscadel, or Moscatel, is a white to black grape used for making wines of different varieties, namely, fortified, sparkling dessert and table wines which are characterized by their sweet floral and musky aromas. Muscat is believed to be the oldest grape to have been domesticated and the oldest member of the Vitis Vinifera family of grapes. These are a family of grapes from which the Muscat wine is produced.
Origin of Muscat Wine
Muscat seems to have originated in Greece but it may be associated with the Sultanate of Muscat. The grape seems to have been transported across Italy to France. It was spread to Germany by the Romans and to Crimea in the Soviet Union by the Greeks. The Egyptians spread the grape to South Africa and to Muscat of Alexandria. The wine reached Australia in the 1800s.
Popular Muscat Wines
Muscat is used for producing four major types of wines:
• Table wines- the grape in the Chilean region was used for making table wine
• Sparkling wines- There are a number of popular sparkling Muscat wines. The wine in the Italian region of Asti and Piedmont regions. The wine is also used for producing sparkling wines in the Alita region of Lithuania.
• Dessert and Fortified Wines- The wines produced in the Spanish and Portugal regions are fortified dessert wines. These wines are of the Moscatel variety. Moscatel de Setubal is a sweet dessert wine from the Portuguese region of Setubal. Moscatel de Favaios is a Moscatel wine from the Duoro region. The Spanish regions of Malaga and Jerez are also famous for their Muscat wine. The vins doux naturels of France; the wines San Joaquin Valley, California, the wines from the Rutherglen regions of Australia are all sweet and fortified Muscat wines.
Special mention must be made of the Muscat wines of Rutherglen which are regarded as some of the richest wines of the world. The Rutherglen Muscatsare of four types, the normal Rutherglen Muscat, the Classic Rutherglen Muscat, Grand Rutherglen Muscat, and Rare Ruthrglen Muscat. These categories of Rutherglen wines vary in sophistication from the basic to the higher levels.
Food Pairing With Muscat Wine
Muscat, being sweet, is paired with a number of sweet dishes. It pairs well with vanilla cake, chocolate cake, rum balls, coffee cake and fruit cake. It also pairs well with gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, candy bars, pecans, banana pudding, butterscotch pudding, lemon and melon dessert, rum balls and gorgonzola cheese.
Serving Muscat Wine
Muscat is best served at 43-45 degrees F.
Nutritional Worth of Muscat Wine
Muscat is generally used for making dessert wines which tend to be low in calories. It is generally consumed in moderation and it has low nutritional worth. The caloric value of Muscat wins varies according to the brand under which it is produced as the sugar content in the wines varies according to the type of Muscat and the grape.