Feb 242012
 

MuscatWe’ve watched the Muscat varietal creep up the ladder of popularity for some time now, and it has just made a big move.  Wines & Vines magazine reported this week that Muscat has officially ousted Sauvignon Blanc as the third most popular white wine varietal in America.

Nothing so far has displaced king-of-the-mountain Chardonnay which is the best-selling wine—never mind red or white– in the U.S. And Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) is holding at second place.

Who knew that Muscat—all sweetness and orange blossoms– was a prowress at heart.  A study by Symphony IRI shows sales of Muscat grew 70% compared to Sauvignon blanc’s 7% from January of 2011 to January 2012.

The wine is often labeled Moscato (its Spanish and Portuguese name) in the U.S. but goes by a large variety of names around the world.  It has enough synonyms to make your head spin. But one thing is clear:  this grape varietal is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, on the planet.  Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion says Muscat was likely the first grape farmed in France. It was wide spread in Roussillon in the 14th century. It is also Italy’s oldest varietal, where it flourished in Piemonte, land of the grand Barolos. Sorry, Nebbiolo, you weren’t always first!

But anyway, we digress when really this should just be about opening a bottle or two of this rising star and seeing what the hubbub is all about.