The Moscatel de Alejandría variety is one of the oldest known varieties, and etymologically, it is thought that it may have its origin in Egypt (specifically in the city of Alexandria).
From there it spread to the rest of the Mediterranean countries, although this “theory” is more poetic than a scientifically proven fact.
The Romans called it “apiana” (from apinus-a-um), “the grape of the bees”, since its sweetness and aroma attracted a large number of these insects. For their part, the Christians, during the reconquest, did not find a translation for the name that the Arabs had given it in Andalusia, and they baptized it Moscatel, because it recalled the musky smell of the rosehip.
Currently this variety is known by many different names: Moscatel de Málaga, Moscatel de Valencia, Moscatel de Grano Gordo, Moscatel Romano, etc…
It is a grape that needs hot and humid places to develop, so it is ideal for it to be grown in places near the sea, and in many areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea its cultivation is very popular. In Spain it is concentrated in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Malaga, growing areas where temperatures are normally high, which allows gradual and constant maturation. For this reason, the harvest usually begins at the end of August, being one of the earliest in Spain.
Very versatile, it is used both for table grapes, for the production of raisins, as well as for the production of very aromatic white, dry and sweet wines. It is therefore a highly appreciated variety with multiple uses that is characterized by its great aromatic power and high sugar content.
According to the plant material file of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), the agronomic characteristics of the variety are:
- Not very vigorous variety with upright bearing.
- It needs a high temperature during flowering.
- Resistant to drought, well adapted to gravel and acid soils. Short pruning on poor soils. It requires high temperatures for good maturation and good hardening of the wood. Grow in very hot areas. Low performance.
- Very sensitive to powdery mildew fungus, mildew, red spider mite and spring frosts.
According to 2021 data from MAPA, there are a total of 10,579 hectares planted with this variety in Spain, being the eighth most cultivated white variety in our country.
June 16 is Muscatel Day. This day has been chosen by the PDO Alicante to celebrate this very special grape variety and the unique wines that are made from it.
Fusta Nova, our best-selling aromatic white wine, is a coupage of 3 varieties where the Moscatel variety stands out, providing floral aromas and its fruity character.
The latest product launch of the SANDARA brand is a sparkling wine made from the Moscatel grape, it is sweet and has a fine bubble, and maintains all the aromatic and taste characteristics of this grape.
Article written by:
Director, Business Development