A Wine Lover’s Look At The White Muscat De Frontignan Grape

Muscat de Frontignan are perhaps the oldest known grape variety. As with many grape varieties, these grapes have many synonyms, of which the most popular is Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (white, small berry Muscat). Despite its name, these grapes may be pink or reddish brown depending on the year. Muscat de Frontignan is one of manyrelated varieties of Muscat. This variety very likely originated in Ancient Greece and then reached out into Italy and France in classic Roman times. There is a record of its export from the French port of Frontignan during the reign of Charlemagne, which occurred well over 1100 years ago. Muscat de Frontignan has a wide geographical distribution but it is often grown in small quantities. This variety can be found in Mediterranean France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and the United States, especially California.

Unlike most grape varieties, Muscat wines definitely taste like grapes. To my way of thinking, this relatively unique quality is by no means a plus. Muscat de Frontignan grapes are often blended with other varieties. Available styles include a sparkling, fruity white wine such as the Clairette de Die of southeastern France, a dry still white wine as the Frontignac of the Barossa Valley of South Australia, and high class, full-flavored, fortified dessert wines such as in the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise of southeastern France, and the Brown Muscat from Australia. These dessert wines may develop their full potential over a period of several decades.

Muscat de Frontignan wines may be enjoyed with Clams, Fried Squid, or Mussels. The related Muscadet, the most widely produced wine of the Loire Valley in France, is the classic accompaniment to Bouillabaisse, Raw Oysters, and Smoked Fish. Many people claim that a dry Alsatian Muscat is the best, if not the only, wine to accompany Asparagus. Muscat-based dessert wines are great – with desserts.

Over the past several years I have reviewed three Muscat-based wines. One was a semi-sweet Muscat Otonel coming from Serbia, another was a low-alcohol Kosher Italian sweet Muscato Blanc coming from the northwestern Piedmont region, home to some great Italian wines, perhaps not this one. The third review discussed a sweet Muscat, possibly a Muscat de Frontignan, from the Greek island of Samos. These wines inspired the great British poet Lord Byron to sing their praises. By the way, my wine review will not subject you to any of my poetry.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. Visit his wine, nutrition, and health website www.wineinyourdiet.com .

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.