National Moscato Day 2022: 15 facts about Muscat

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To celebrate National Moscato Day 2022, we’ve put together 15 facts about Muscat, the French name for the varietal more commonly known by its Italian name, moscato.

National Moscato Day 2022

  1. Not just one variety
    Muscat grapes come in over 200 different varieties! Not all of these are used in the production of wine. The key muscats varieties used in wine production are: Muscat blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat of Scanzorosciate, Muscat of Hamburg and Muscat Ottonel.

 

  1. The name Muscat
    There are several theories about where the name muscat come from:
    • The most commonly cited belief is the name is derived from the Persian word muchk.
    This is supported by similar etymology for the Greek moskos, Latin muscus and French musc.
    • The Italian word mosca meaning fly is a possibility as fruit flies are commonly attracted to the sweet aroma and high sugar levels of the grapes
    • It may have been named after the city of Muscat on the Gulf of Oman.
    • Similarly, it may have been named after the Greek city of Moschato, located southwest of Athens in Attica with Moschato being a common synonym in Greece for Muscat varieties.

 

  1. Other names
    Muscat blanc à Petits Grains is known by many names worldwide:

    • Muscat de Frontignan and Muscat Lunel in France.
    • Muscat Blanc in France and also the United States,
    • Muscat Canelli in the United States,
    • Moscato Bianco (white Moscato) in Italy,
    • Muscat Frontignan in South Africa,
    • Moschato in Greece,
    • Brown Muscat in Australia,
    • Muskateller in Germany and Austria,
    • Muscat de Grano Menudo in Spain.

     

  2. Origins of Moscato
    The family of Muscat were likely propagated during the period of classic antiquity (circa 800BC to 600AD) by the Greeks and Romans according to ampelographer Pierre Galet.However, ancient pots found in Greece found traces of an alcoholic drink made with Muscat grapes. Archaeological analysis found them to be over 3000 years old.

 

  1. All the hues
    With 200 + varieties of Muscat grapes, it’s not surprising that they range from white to pink to yellow to black.

 

  1. Muscat wines
    While there are differences between the different varietals of Muscat grapes and the wines with which they are made, all share the same grapey, musky aromatic trait. Muscat wines are typically quite sweet and lower in alcohol. Aromas of tangerine, mango, lychee, jasmine, and orange blossom are common. Tropical fruit and sweet spiciness are common on the palate.

 

  1. Notable French Muscat AOCs
    Some of the most reputed French AOCs using Muscat are:• Clairette de Die in Die in the Eastern Rhône is a sparkling White wine made from Muscat
    • Muscat d’Alsace, a synonym for Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, is the oldest Muscat grown in Alsace. It is usually produced as a dry table wine.
    • Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise is considered to be the best of the South of France’s several vins doux naturels (fortified sweet wines). It has delicate, lovely aromas and flavours and can reach an alcohol strength of 21%!
    • Muscat du Cap Corse is a rare, sweet wine with very intense fruit and flower flavours which is produced on the island of Corsica.
    • Muscat de Frontignan, or Vin de Frontignan or Frontignan is considered to be the most important of Languedoc’s four Muscats.
    • Muscat de Lunel is also in the Languedoc region. It produces wines with a highly distinguished character while retaining its subtle, delicate bouquet. The silica soil is said to contribute.
    • Muscat de Mireval, also from Languedoc is similar to Muscat de Frontignan.
    • Muscat de Rivesaltes in the Roussillon region, represents about 70% of France’s total Muscat production. Two types of Muscat are allowed: Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains and Muscat d’Alexandrie.
    • Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois is said to be one of France’s rarest wines.

National Moscato Day/ Journee du muscat

  1. Muscat d’Alexandrie in France
    It’s commonly used as a blending component in the vin doux naturel  wines of Muscat de Rivesaltes in the Roussillon region. .

 

  1. Muscat Ottonel in France
    One of the most recent additions to the Muscat family, Muscat Ottonel was bred in the Loire Valley in the 1850s. It has the palest skin colour, ripens earliest and produces the most neutral wines of all the muscat grapes. Apart from being grown in the Loire Valley, Muscat Ottonel is the primary Muscat grown in Alsace where it’s used to produce dry and off-dry wines.

 

  1. Around the world
    Outside of France, Muscat is grown and made in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Moldova, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, and the United States.

 

  1. Best Muscats of the World competition held annually
    The most recent edition, the 21st Muscats du Monde, took place on 7 & 8 September 2021 in Entre Vignes in the Occitane region. That edition saw entries from 19 countries and 182 still and sparkling muscat wines.

 

  1. Australia in the top 10 Best Muscats of the World
    Victoria’s Morris Wines in Rutherglen has consistently placed in the top 10 with their Old Premium – Rare Muscat

 

 

 

  1. Not only wine
    Muscat grapes aren’t only used to produce wine. They’re also used in the production of some spirits and liqueurs. Pavan is a blue liqueur made with muscat grapes and orange blossoms.Bouilleur Eau de vie Fine de Muscat 5 yrs is an aged spirit made by L’Atelier du Bouilleur, a craft distillery, located in the south of France, which is certified organic and organised as a cooperative. It is made from muscat grapes and has a 45% alcohol/ volume.

 

  1. National Moscato Day
    The celebration was created by Gallo Family Vineyards in California, USA. National Moscato Day is celebrated on 9th May every year.

 

  1. Get social
    Share your Muscat with the #NationalMoscatoDay and tag @matildamarseillaise_en on instagram and @matildamarseillaise on Facebook.

National Moscato Day 2022

Happy National Moscato Day 2022! What’s your favourite Muscat wine?

 

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International Sauvignon Blanc Day 2022: 13 Facts about Sauvignon Blanc

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Today is International Sauvignon Blanc Day 2022, so to celebrate we’re sharing 13 facts with you about this French white wine varietal. International Sauvignon Blanc Day is celebrated on the first Friday of May each year so pop it in your calendar.

International Sauvignon Blanc Day

  1. Origins of the sauvignon blanc grape
    Sauvignon Blanc originated in the Loire Valley. Its first known mention, under its synonym fiers, is recorded in 1534.

 

  1. The name Sauvignon Blanc
    The name possibly comes from Savignin, the grape from which sauvignon blanc is thought to originate. The other possibility is that it derives from the French word sauvage, meaning wild. Blanc, of course, means white.

 

  1. Other names
    International Sauvignon Blanc Day
  2. The vines
    Sauvignon blanc grapes are small with golden yellow to green skins. They grow in small clusters.Young leaves of sauvignon blanc are downy and yellowish, adult leaves are 5 lobed and green.

 

  1. On the nose
    These wines have strong aromas which can range from freshly cut grass, peas and asparagus through to tropical and ripe passionfruit, grapefruit or mango.

 

  1. On the palate
    While sauvignon blancs will taste differently depending on where they come from, Sauvignon Blanc is known for crisp, high acidity. The grassiness in the aroma can also come through in the wine which thanks for pyrazine, a chemical compound found in the grapes, grassy, herbal or capsicum (bell pepper to the US) flavours can be found. Cooler climate sauvignon blancs tend to keep this character. Warmer climates however see that characteristic diminish with fruitier flavours taking its place.

 

  1. What are French sauvignon blancs like?
    As with many varietals, sauvignon blanc wines taste different in each country and sometimes even from region to region.Sauvignon blanc typically produces dry white wines in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. There are, however, differences between sauvignon blancs from these two regions: gravely soils in the Loire give floral, spicy, mineral flavours whereas Bordeaux sauvignon blancs are often fruitier.

    AOC Pouilly-Fumé wines have a smoky, fun flint flavour which is why the word “fumé”, meaning smoky, is used.

    Single varietal sauvignon blancs under the Saint-Bris AOC are said to be less concentrated than the Sauvignon blanc-based AOC wines of the upper Loire valley, in particular Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre.

 

  1. Sauvignon blanc in blends
    While Sauvignon blanc grapes are often used to produce single varietal wines, they are also sometimes used in blends. Most common perhaps is the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend. With a point of difference however is the Sauternes region, sauvignon blanc grapes are blended with Sémillon to produce Sauternes, a late harvest sweet wine.It is one of the four white grapes permitted in Bordeaux white wine production – alongside Sémillon, Muscadelle and Ugni blanc.

    In the northern Rhône Valley, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Tressallier to form a tart white wine.

 

  1. Not just still: also sparkling
    Some New Zealand producers have produced sparkling wine from sauvignon blanc grapes.

 

  1. Parenthood
    Sauvignon Blanc spontaneously crossed with Cabernet Franc to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. It has also been crossed with obscure grape Raffiat de Moncade to produce a grape called Arriloba, which is found in France, Brazil and Uruguay. In Romania, Sauvignon Blanc has been crossed with a grape called Sarba to produce another called Golia.

journée internationale du sauvignon blanc 2022

  1. Sauvignon blanc around the world
    Outside of its native France, New Zealand has the world’s second largest plantings of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. 2013 measurements had New Zealand at 16,205 hectares with France at 26,839 hectares. Chile is in 3rd place with 12, 159 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines. The rest of the top 10 sauvignon blanc growing countries are South Africa, US, Australia, Romania, Spain, Italy and Ukraine.

 

  1. Think you don’t like sauvignon blanc?
    Try French! Chilean sauvignon blancs are also said to be close to the French style. These are quite a contrast from New Zealand’s sauvignon blancs, which tend to be a lot higher in acidity than their French counterparts – if New Zealand has ruined sauvignon blanc for you, try a French (or Chilean) one and discover the differences!

 

  1. Get social
    If you’re celebrating International Sauvignon Blanc Day 2022, share your glass (or bottle) of sauvignon blanc on social media with the hashtags #sauvblancday #sauvignonblancday
    International Sauvignon Blanc Day

 

Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day 2022! What’s your favourite sauvignon blanc?

 

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