Moscatel, aka Muscat of Alexandria or Moscato, is an aromatic wine grape that is commonly used to make wines of varying levels of sweetness. It is one of the oldest grapes in the world that has remained genetically unmodified. It has been debated where this ancient vine originated. Some believe it comes from Egypt, as its name would infer. Although, through research, some believe it originates from the south of mainland Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, or possibly even Greece. Moscatel can be found growing around the world. There are many types of Muscat, so the names tend to get confusing quite quickly. This grape is not to be confused with Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat Ottonel, Orange Muscat, Muscadelle…and the list goes on! The wine I selected this week blends Moscatel with Doradilla, an indigenous grape to the Málaga region of southern Spain (on the opposite side of the Strait of Gibraltar from the Sherry Triangle). While we are playing the confusing name game, it is a distinctly different variety than Doradillo, a variety commonly grown in South Australia. The most common grape varieties grown in Málaga are Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel. These grapes are most well known for their use in sweet and/or fortified wine production (like Sherry). The region of the bottle I chose is from Sierras de Málaga, DO. Wines labeled with this designation are still (non sparkling) dry wines that are unfortified (maximum alcohol content of 15.5%) with a maximum sugar content of 12 grams per liter. These wines must also be made using one of the 13 approved white grape varieties.
My 2018 La Raspa from Viñedo Verticales is a blend of 80% Moscatel and 20% Doradilla. The wine was a pale straw yellow with noticeable aromatics as soon as I poured it. Moscatel is known for its grapey aroma and this wine was no different. It was reminiscent of white grape juice. Floral aromas are also to be expected. The floral scents exhibited were honeysuckle, orange blossom and apple blossom. It also had aromas of apple juice and apple sauce. The light bodied dry wine showcased a level of acidity on the higher end that made this the refreshing glass I hoped for during the recent heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. The alcohol content was perfect to maintain the balance of the individual structural elements. The floral and fruity notes were combined with touches of minerality and salinity that significantly increased the wines’ complexity. The grapeiness lingered and slowly acquiesced to the earthy components. Despite the fact I had forgotten about this bottle in my non-temperature controlled garage, it hadn’t lost its vivid flavors or aromas. This was a great bottle to mark off grapes 196 and 197 on my Wine Century Club list!