DNA analysis has revealed that Muscadelle is a hybrid formed between Gouias blanch and an unknown grape variety.
Origin and History of Muscadelle
This grape wine variety has possibly originated from the southwest France. In France, plantations of the grape declined throughout the start of the 21st century and the 1990’s because the grape variety ripens early, prone to decay and has an uneven yield.
It is unknown how the grape came into Australia. The winemakers of Liqueur Tokay believed that they had Pinot Gris or maybe the Hungarian Harslevelu until Paul Truel in 1976 recognized this grape as Muscadelle.
Today Semillon has overtaken Muscadelle in its original home in France. This grape variety is highly susceptible to diseases, therefore it is difficult to grow; the production has declined over the years and is found less frequently.
But yes, a small amount of Muscadelle can provide sufficient complexity, so do not expect the disappearance of this distinctive variety soon.
Regions Where Muscadelle is Grown
Muscadelle forms a higher proportion in some other sweet wines like Monbazillac. The grape is utilized to produce a fortified wine in Australia, which is now called as Topaque (previously Tokay).
Those wines which are produced in the region of Rutherglen usually get reasonable aging in cellar with high temperatures which results in oxidative and maderised character.
Muscadelle provides luscious, rich colors with a dark golden hue to the wines. Few other regions in Australia like in the Barossa Valley, similar wines are produced. Some other wineries in Australia utilize Muscadelle to produce table wines similar to those produced by French wineries.
According to an agreement with the EU, till June 2020 the Australian producers should stop using the term Tokay; however a lot of them have already started the use of the name Topaque to denote this style.
The term, Tokay, made some of the Australian producers believe that this grape variety was Pinot gris (which was known as Tokay by some winemakers in Alsace). However, later on it has been established that Muscadelle is Australian Tokay.
The synonyms used to represent Muscadelle are Angelico, Angelicaut, Blanche Douce, Blanche Cadillac, Buillenc, Bouillenc Muscat, Catape, Cadillac, Colle, Doucanelle, Colle Musquette, Douzanelle, Guillan, Enfin, Guilan Doux, Guepie, Marmesie, Guilan Muscat, Melon de Bougogne, Guilan Musque, Muscade, Muscadet, Muscadela, Muscadet Doux, Muscadelle de Bordelais, Muscat Fou, Pedro Ximenes Krimsky, Rousselou, Raisin de Musco, Raisinotte, Tokay, Sauvignon vert, Vesparo, White Angelica and Sauvignon Muscadelle.
Characteristics of Muscadelle Grape
In Australia, Muscadelle develops a specific raisin character. The grape has a grapey and floral aroma with low acidity. Complex flavors are developed in Muscadelle due to the aging in hot cellars.
Berries and grape clusters have a moderate size. After reaching maturity, Muscadelle can be used for the production of slightly aromatic, moderately alcoholic and not very acidic wines.
Muscadelle is a productive, sturdy and early-ripening grape variety. Grapes are kept on the vine unless they become semi-dried, and then they undergo partial fermentation and fortification by neutral grape spirit.
Then the process of aging is carried out generally in barrel, where the rich flavors of butterscotch and caramel starts to develop.
The maturation of Muscadelle is very fast and its grapes are heavily attacked by noble rot due to which pronounced taste is developed. Complexity is achieved due to the oxidative surrounding and the time spent by the wines in the oak wood.
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