What Is Moscatel Wine? The Key Things to Know

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Do you enjoy wine? Are you interested in trying different wines? You are in good company—roughly 75 percent of U.S. adults enjoy some good vino.

Do you like sweeter wines? If so, have you considered trying Moscatel wine?

Let’s take a look at Moscatel wine, including how it is made, what it tastes like, and what you should pair with it.

What Is Moscatel Wine?

Moscatel grapes are aromatic and have hints of flowers, citrus, and grape flavors. They are higher sugar levels, so they are ideal for sweeter wines.

There are two regions of Portugal for this sweet wine—the Douro and the Peninsula of Setubal and across the Tagus River from Lisbon. You can find these grapes in a few other places, but these are the prime producers.

These grapes are also popular for making raisins because of their sweet, rich flavor.

Most Moscatel grapes grow in sandy soil by the sea but can also be planted on plateaus.

In addition to the Portuguese versions of Moscatel or Muscatel, you can also find varieties from Italy, France, South Africa, Spain, and even the U.S.

How Moscatel Wine Is Made

No matter what region of Portgual the grapes are harvested from, the process of turning them into Moscatel wine is the same.

First, the grapes are crushed with skins on. This lets the flavors absorb into the juice. This process happens over three months, and during this part of fermentation, the winemakers add grape brandy to fortify the wine. This makes the wine different from other wines since it has a distilled spirit added.

The Moscatel wine then ages in oak barrels. After the fermentation process is complete, the wine continues to age in wooden vats for at least another 18 months.

The wine is ready to be sold once it is about two to five years old. The alcohol content ranges between 16-22 percent.

The popularity of these wines started soaring in the 1990s as more people starting enjoying wine and the health benefits of wine.

What Does It Taste Like?

Most people say that Moscatel wine actually tastes like a grape. This is because the taste resembles the grapes you are more used to eating as a snack. It’s best to serve these wines chilled to enhance their light and sweet flavors.

If you don’t like a lot of acidity or alcohol, Moscatel wines are a great option for you. They have a golden sweetness that is light and easy to drink. Sometimes, they can be dry, but there are plenty on the more sweet side.

If you want, Moscatel wine is a great dessert wine after dinner and also a great wine to drink at pool parties or summer events for those that like sweeter wines.

You can also use this wine to make a spritzer or mix it with other juices or cocktails. Making a spritzer can cut down on the sweetness if it is too much for you, but other guests enjoy the sweetness.

You can see the common theme of the citrus notes in these wines. If you crave these sweet tastes, be careful of confusing these wines for the drier Muscadet wine. These wines are completely different, and the Muscadet wine is more dry and savory.

Different Types of Moscatel Wine

Moscatel de Setúbal has a strong and powerful flavor. They are really sweet, and alcohol levels should be between 16-22 percent. These wines start as pale when young but darken to a rich gold as they age in the wood, and this process adds a nutty or complex flavor.

Moscatel do Douro (or DOP) is found in the regions of Favaios and Alijo. These grapes grow on a high plateau on top of winding roads north of the River Douro. The majority of DOP comes from the Favavios region.

These fortified Moscatel wines are complex sweet and have about 16.5 percent alcohol content.  These wines are very floral and have strong citrus aromas with tastes of apricots, orange, tangerines, and butterscotch. Like other varieties, these wines get a richer fig or raisiny taste the longer they are in the wooden vat.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find some Moscatel do Douro that has aged 10-20 years. Bottled under Colheita, these wines are considered vintage.

Now You Know About Moscatel Wine

If you are looking to barrel age your next beer or spirit in a sweet, flavorful Moscatel barrel, then check us out at Northeast Barrel Company! We have plenty of wine and spirit barrels to choose from. Contact us today for more information or any questions you may have. Cheers!

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