The first two plantings in our vineyard were Shiraz and Muscat at the turn of the millenium (I always wanted to say that) which is really odd because the Mornington Peninsula is renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and convention says that we should’ve gone with the flow but I really like Shiraz so that was a given and I just needed an excuse for something else a little bit out there. My favourite wine – in the world – is Liqueur Muscat. I just love those thick sticky syrupy luscious Rutherglen Muscats and when someone asked if I’d plant a patch of Muscat to supply for them, well I couldn’t resist.
So off we went to T’Gallant and made some cuttings of Muscat à Petit Grains or Brown Muscat as it is known up in Rutherglen. They got their cuttings from Rutherglen so the ducks were all lining up for me. Muscat grapes are one of the oldest known grape varieties and it is grown widely in the Piedmont region in Italy as the sweeter slightly fizzy Moscato style. Here on the Mornington Peninsula being cool climate, the flavours are much more aromatic and delicate.
So one of my favourite things to do in recent times is to wonder the Muscat vineyard around April/May when the grapes are ripe and test them – a lot – which makes me very glad that we planted Muscat.
In our early days we used to setup shop at the local craft and farmers markets to sell our wine and during that time I was thinking about making a coffee table book to sell at the markets called 101 things to do with Muscat, thought it would be a nice thing to do. So I reckon the most important bit when making a book called 101 things I guess is actually having 101 things. So my journey to get 101 things to do with Muscat begins with #01 – Moscato. And the burning question will be; can I get to 101, I’m thinking maybe 50 but it will be fun trying!
#01 – Moscato – Moscato is a great Summer wine and a great place to start your wine journey. Generally speaking most Moscato’s are light in alcohol and sweet with a slight spritz. They are very refreshing in warm weather and is one of the few wines that I ever recommend serving very chilled, and for mine the colder the better. The slight fizz tends to make the wine feel light and zingy and also pops the flavours somewhat.
Moscato is a very versatile wine in that is can be drunk simply on its own, will compliment cheeses very well – especially stinky cheeses, can be drunk as a palate cleanser, or afterwards as a light dessert wine.
I remember speaking to another local winemaker a few years ago and asked him if he had a sweet wine at his cellar door to which his reply was “ oh no, we wouldn’t want those people in our cellar door really” to which my reply was “ you really don’t know what you’re missing out on.” Moscato has a huge place at our table and when we’re entertaining.