Muscat de Frontignan - White Wine Grape

Muscat de Frontignan, one of many Muscats...

Muscat de Frontignan is perhaps the oldest known grape variety. It is one of several related varieties of Muscat. It most likely originated in Ancient Greece and expanded into Italy and France in Roman times. There is a record of its export from the French port of Frontignan during the reign of Charlemagne, well over 1100 years ago. Muscat de Frontignan has a wide geographical distribution but is often grown in small quantities. It grows in Mediterranean France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and the United States, especially California.

Classic Image of Muscat (Muscat de Frontignan) Grapes Muscat de Frontignan image first published in Victor Rendu, Ampelographie francaise, comprenant la statistique, la description des meilleurs cepages, l'analyse chimique du sol et les procedes de culture et de vinification des principaux vignobles de la France. [2nd ed.]Paris: Masson, 1857.

Illustration courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Wine Literature of the World website.

Unlike most grape varieties, Muscat wines taste of grapes. Muscat de Frontignan is 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 decades.

Muscat de Frontignan is good 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 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.

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