All about Spain. Muscatel wine

  • Spain has the largest extension of cultivated vineyards in the world and is the third biggest producer of wine. With a wide range of grape varieties and a long tradition, Spanish wines are recognized and well-known worldwide.

    Today we are going to talk about Spanish sweet wines (they are also internationally renown since Spain, with lots of sun, is a privileged country for producing this kind of wines); and more specifically, we are going to focus on Muscatel wines which are one of most appreciated varieties (together with Pedro Ximénez wines). 

    Muscatel wine is made exclusively from different varieties of the grape with the same name: muscatel grape. This grape is considered one of the oldest cultivated in Spain and has a great aromatic intensity. It needs to be over ripened and sun dried, and different types of wine can be made with it:

    1. Dry wine.
    2. Semisweet wine.
    3. Dessert wine (also called “Mistela” in Valencia and Catalonia).

    Muscatel wines are made from partially raisined grapes (with a high concentration of sugars) and adding vinic alcohol to the freshly-pressed must. The sweetness of the wine is therefore all natural, coming only from the grapes. The wines have the characteristic floral aroma of the muscatel grapes (thanks to some essential oils from the part near grape’s skin). This aroma is what sets them apart from the rest of sweet wines.

    Muscatel wines have an average alcohol content between 11 and 13 degrees, while dessert wines (“Mistela”) 15 degrees.

    Muscatel grapes need to be cultivated in a warm and humid climate, in coastal areas. And that is why in Spain the most outstanding production areas of Muscatel wine are Andalucia, Valencia, Catalonia and Navarra. These regions and the variety of grape used (Muscatel of Alexandria, Muscatel Petit Grain, Roman Muscatel...) give the wines different nuances. Though all of them have common characteristics: golden and bright colour, fruity aroma and sweet and fresh taste.

    Among 200 varieties of Muscatel grapes, in Spain we find 2 types that stand out:

    • Muscatel of Alexandria or Muscatel of Malaga: White grape, typically Mediterranean that needs sun and the influence of the sea. With an immense organoleptic value, can be highlighted its aromatic potential and its versatility to make different types of dry and sweet natural wines, with elegant and floral aromas: white, sparkling and a wide range of dessert wines. It is considered the muscatel grape par excellence as it is widely cultivated in Spain and the one used in the most important Designations of Origin (DO Málaga and DO Valencia). Regarding its origin, it seems it comes from the Mediterranean basin (North of Egypt). Experts believe that it is one of the oldest genetically unmodified vines still in existence.
    • Muscatel Petit Grain or Moorish Muscatel: It is also a white grape. As its name implies, the grain is small and the grape bunches are quite tight. Due to its early sprouting, average drought-resistance and sensitivity to the sun, it has a low productivity. It is used to elaborate young dry or semi-dry wines, sweet, very aromatic and with a high content of alcohol and acidity. It is said that this grape originated in Greece or Turkey.

    Dry varieties of Muscatel wines are a perfect match for fish and seafood dishes. Also, like the sparkling ones, pair well with spiced dishes such as thai, chinese, vietnamese or indian.

    Sweeter varieties and dessert wines are ideal to drink on its own (chilled and/or with ice) or to accompany appetizers with foie or blue cheese. They also pair well with fruit and with any kind of desserts such as fruit tarts, egg sponge, puddings, pastries....

    Now, in El Colmado HK you can find the following Muscatel wine, from Valencia and at a very good price:

    • Sol de Reymos, an excellent sweet Muscatel wine (dessert wine) made by Reymos Winery (DO Valencia). See more

    Bodegas Reymos was founded in 1918. It was the first wine cooperative in Valencia and one of the oldest in Spain. 

    It is located in Cheste, a town with an average altitude of 218 meters above sea level. Its microclimate, soil conditions and proximity to the sea make this place ideal to grow Muscatel of Alexandria grapes variety.  

    Bodegas Reymos is the first winery of Spain that produces Muscatel grapes. It is a specialist in elaborating wines (white, sweet, "mistela" and sparkling wines) made with Muscatel grapes, a variety with so much aromatic potential.

    Bodegas Reymos wines have been awarded important quality recognitions, with Golden Medals in prestigious international competitions.

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