Muscat is a white grape family, widely used in wine production. It is also used to make raisins. The family is quite large and composed of many varieties. They differ in color, as well as in grape size. Muscat is incredibly widespread and has been grown in all parts of the world for centuries.
Muscat is grown in Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Moldova, Bulgaria and others. Muscat Ottonel is the variety that is highly common in Europe.
Muscat Ottonel has green, medium-sized leaves. The flowers are ornamental and fancy. The grape cluster is relatively small, weighing up to 3.5 oz (100 g). It has a cylindrical or cone shape. The grapes are rounded, medium-sized, colored green-yellow. Sometimes they get rust-colored spots. The flesh is watery, with an expressed muscat aftertaste. It is wrapped in a thin but elastic skin. When aged enough for consumption, the sugar content of the fruit comes out to about 24%. The grapes are of importance when it comes to the production of semi-dry and sweet wines.
Muscat Ottonel is among the group of moderately fast ripening varieties. The fruit is ready for harvest in the last days of August. It grows well in deep, soft and humus-carbonate soils. It is good to plant the vines in hilly terrain. The vines develop moderately quickly in suitable conditions. Moderate fertility and moderate harvest are seen in this variety. The harvest from 0.1 hectares varies between 1760 lb (800 kg) and 2650 lb (1200 kg). The vines prefer the rootstock 41B. A positive quality of this variety is that it does not falter against drought or cold. Grey mold also also does not affect it very much.
History of Muscat
The origins of muscat are still debated to this day. There are presumptions that it appeared in Syria or Egypt in ancient times, resulting from a bud mutation. Muscat was well known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. As early as between the 6th and 8th century BC, great poets praised the qualities of muscat. Muscat Ottonel itself has been familiar to winegrowers for many years, selected during the 50s of the 19th century.
Selection took place in the French city of Angers thanks to Moro-Rober. DNA analyses show that it was the result of crossbreeding Muscat de Saumur and Chasselas. At first it was only popular in Western Europe but later it managed to reach the central and eastern parts of the continent. In this way it slowly spread to all winemaking countries.
Characteristics of Muscat
Generally, muscat is used to make table, sparkling and fortified wines. It is the foundation of sparkling grape elixirs in Italy. Certain muscat wines give the impression of violets and geranium.
The muscat aftertaste must also be noted, something that is characteristic for them. At the same time, these wines are full-bodied but moderately fresh. Due to their gentle and delicate muscat taste, they take a high spot in the taste pyramid of wines.
Wines produced from muscat need to be used while still young. Before serving, they need to be cooled to about 50°F (8° C). If the wine has aged in an oak barrel, it should be cooled to about 50°F (10°C). When serving muscat, it is best to use a tulip wine glass set. Typically, these types are slightly elongated. The lower part is wide, the upper is narrow and it opens just slightly outward toward the rim. The idea behind the structure is to maintain the fragrant notes of the wine longer and also for the liquid to first fall onto the tongue while drinking from it.
When choosing muscat appetizers, you have a lot of choices. Of course, it is best to pair the wine with some type of meat. Know that you should not use foods that are too heavy. Let the chosen specialties be flavorful and appetizing.
Some chefs even bet on Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Indian dishes are also suitable. Fish and seafood are other fine complements to muscat. You can try enriching the taste of muscat with lobster with rice, sushi with shrimp, salad with crab rolls and white fish with a fine sauce.
If you would rather substitute the meat products with dairy products, you can choose from the hard cheeses, the highly flavorful ones are an excellent choice. If you love having your drink with nuts, muscat is the one for you. Bolder alcohol enthusiasts often combine their wine with different nuts. They say that roasted peanuts are ideal with the grape elixir.