Muscat Grapes


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Never mind peaches, plums and blackcurrants, here’s a grape that tastes of, err, grapes!

A crisp, floral picnic white, a frothy, wedding-cake-friendly sparkler and a stunning, treacly concoction that can take on the gooiest chocolate pudding. It’s hard to believe they’re the same grape, but then Muscat comes in a number of different guises.

One of the friendliest grapes you’ll find, and often underestimated as a result, the versatile Muscat makes lovely grapey whites wherever it’s grown, as well as some stunning dessert wines.

The most refined dry Muscats emerge from Alsace and Austria, although southern France and northern Italy also boast good examples. The former is also home to succulent sweet and lightly fortified wines Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and Muscat de Rivesaltes, while the latter boasts the frothy Asti and its more refined relative Moscato d’Asti. Other European wines to look out for are Moscato Passito di Pantelleria (Sicily), Moscatel de Setúbal (Portugal) and Moscatel de Valencia (Spain). Several examples exist in the New World, but the best are South Africa’s Vin de Constance and the wonderfully intense Rutherglen Liqueur Muscats from Australia.


The Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace in London is Muscat of Hamburg, planted in 1768.


What is Jerepigo?


A South African wine made by adding grape spirit to the unfermented juice of Muscat grapes.


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