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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World Marselan Day 2022: 15 facts about Marselan

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Cabernet Franc Day 2021: facts and recommendations

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We’ve arrived at our last French wine varietal day for the year: Cabernet Franc Day 2021. Below we share facts about and wine recommendations for this French varietal.

Cabernet Franc Day 2021

CABERNET FRANC GRAPES

  1. Most significant plantings are found in France
    Of the 45000 hectares of cabernet franc planted around the world, 36000 hectares are in France.

 

  1. Parent
    Cabernet Franc is parent to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménère (that we told you about 10 days ago – read that article here). So, we know that these varietals are younger than Cabernet Franc.

 

  1. Appearance
    Cabernet Franc vines have bright green 5-lobed leaves. Cabernet Franc grapes are blue-black coloured, small and have thin skins. Ripe cabernet franc vines have a “certain leafy, currant bush aroma” according to Jancis Robinson.

la journée internationale du cabernet franc

 

CABERNET FRANC WINES

  1. What’s in a name?
    Cabernet Franc is known by several different names.

International Cabernet Franc Day

 

  1. Often found in blends
    Cabernet Franc is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for Bordeaux style wines.

 

  1. But also, a wine in its own right
    Wines from AOCs Saumur-Champigny, Chinon, Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil are 100% cabernet franc.

 

  1. Even ice wine
    Canada and the USA make ice wine from cabernet franc.

 

  1. More feminine than cabernet sauvignon
    Cabernet Franc produces wines of medium body, medium to high acid, and moderate tannins. It is often seen as the feminine version of the more masculine cabernet sauvignon.
    la journée internationale du cabernet franc

 

  1. Flavour profile
    Cabernet Franc wines are a balance between red fruits, herbs, and peppery earthiness. Its dominant flavours are said to be strawberry, roasted pepper (capsicum for those of us in Australia), red plums, crushed gravel and chilli peppers.

 

  1. Taste dependent on climate
    Cabernet Franc wines from cooler climates like the French Loire Valley or Ontario, Canada have more tart flavours and higher acidity compared to those from warmer areas. Warmer areas produce cabernet francs with flavours of strawberry and dried fruits.

WHERE ITS FOUND

  1. Where it’s grown in France
    As mentioned above, Cabernet Franc is made into single varietal wines in the Loire Valley. It’s also found in Libournais within the Bordeaux wine region where it is used in the famous Bordeaux blends.

 

  1. Cabernet Franc plantings in Australia
    Cabernet Franc came to Australia in James Busby’s 1832 collection of wine varietals. You’ll find it in most regions where cabernet sauvignon is grown. Cabernt Franc is found in varying Australian climates. While it is a varietal which is largely found in South Australia (McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Hills and the Clare Valley) it is also found in North-Eastern Victoria and Western Australia.

 

  1. Australia’s first cabernet franc single varietal
    Paracombe Wines in the Adelaide Hills made the first cabernet franc wine from its 1993 vintage. This is thought to be the first Australian cabernet franc.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CABERNET FRANC DAY 2021

 

Clos Cachet

Ashleigh from Clos Cachet shares her recommendations for all budgets for Cabernet Franc Day 2021.

 

Which cabernet franc (for a lower budget) do you recommend for Cabernet Franc Day?

Domaine Le Petit St Vincent – Saumur Champigny “Le Petit St Vincent” 2019 – $42

 

Why?

Dominique Joseph has created such a beautiful range of pure Cabernet Franc wines right in the heartland of Saumur-Champigny in Varrains. As a lively, friendly and talented winemaker his Domaine is fully organically farmed and grows 12 hectares of vineyard perfectly located over 55 different locations.

 

Dominique’s “Le Petit Saint Vincent” cuvée is the beginning of his range, grown on vineyards located on clay and limestone soils or yellow tuffeau with sandy influence, unique to Saumur-Champigny. I highly recommend his full collection but this is the perfect starting point for your Cabernet Franc journey.

 

Tasting Notes: On the nose fruity notes arise first with red fruit and it opens up to black fruits and light spice. The palate is charming, round and fruity. Best to enjoy now.

 

What would you eat with it?

It can be enjoyed at a barbecue, with white meat, and slightly chilled with cheese.

 

Which cabernet franc (for a higher budget) do you recommend for Cabernet Franc Day?

Philippe Alliet – Chinon “Coteau de Noire” 2018 – $91

 

Why?

To take your Cabernet Franc experience to the next level the ‘Coteau de Noiré’ is perfect. Being the top cuvée of Domaine Alliet, the grapes originate from a single plot of vineyard, ideally located on the slope of the Chinon hill. Alliet ensures the grapes ripen perfectly in this south facing vineyard, and this wine is widely considered by critics to be in the pantheon of Chinon wines.

 

Tasting Notes: The nose is full and complex with notes of dark fruit, fresh coffee beans, subtle vanilla and pepper. The taste is full bodied and refined with firm tannins. This exquisite wine can cellar for more than ten years, or if you’re eager to try it early, decant for 45 minutes before serving.

 

What would you eat with it?

Enjoy alongside game dishes, beef stew, and strong cheeses.

Happy Cabernet Franc Day 2021! Do you have a favourite Cabernet Franc?

 

For more French wine varietals check out these articles:

Merlot Day 2021

Discover 15 things you didn’t know about Carignan for Carignan Day 2021

ChampagneDay 2021: how well do you know champagne? Plus champagne recommendations

International Grenache Day 2021: Discover 11 things you didn’t know about Grenache to celebrate

Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021: 15 things you didn’t know about Cabernet Sauvignon

Cheers to International Pinot Noir Day 2021!

Happy Pinot Grigio Day – a look at the French wine Pinot Gris

20 Champagne facts to celebrate Champagne Day this week

 

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Cabernet Franc Day 2021