Muscadelle Grape Variety and Tokay

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Muscadelle is a white wine grape variety which is used for several wine styles.

Intense perfume, grapey floral...

These words are used by Steve De Long on his grape varietal table in describing Muscadelle wine.

This is the variety behind Australian Tokay wine. Traditional Tokay aka Tokaji, from Hungary uses the Furmit and Harsevelu grape varieties.

The Muscadelle grape variety is used in Bordeaux as a minor blending partner along with Semillon and Sauvignon blanc to make dry white wine. It can be used to make Sauternes and other sweet white wines. It is also used to make the famous semi-sweet Monbazillac white wines of the Bergerac region of SW France.

Liqueur Tokay, along with its close relation Liqueur Muscat, are two gems of Australian winemaking. The styles have been made for well over a century, principally in the Rutherglen and Glenrowan regions of NE Victoria. It was not until the 1970s that the grape variety previously known as "Tokay" was correctly identified as Muscadelle.

Both Muscat and Tokay liqueurs are made with similar methods. Semi-dried grapes are picked, partially fermented, fortified with grape spirit and then given various ageing treatments. Younger wines are back blended with older wines in a system similar to the solera system used in Spain for making sherry.

The Winemakers of Rutherglen classify their fortified wines into four groups depending largely on the age and therefore the richness and complexity of the wines. At the bottom is Rutherglen Tokay (or Muscat) then there is Classic Tokay, then Grand Tokay, then Rare Tokay. The prices rise accordingly, but you get more than your money's worth at every point.

The Muscadelle grape variety can be used to make dry white wines but its use for this purpose in Australia is relatively uncommon.

Some Australian Wineries using Muscadelle include

919 Wines Riverland | All Saints Estate Rutherglen | Alpha Box and Dice McLaren Vale | Anderson Winery Rutherglen | Bailey's of Glenrowan Glenrowan | Brown Brothers King Valley | Bullers Calliope Rutherglen | Campbells Wines Rutherglen | Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen | Charles Melton Barossa Valley | Cofield Wines Rutherglen | Colonial Estate Barossa Valley | Crabtree of Watervale Clare Valley | Edgecombe Brothers Swan Valley | Gehrig Estate Rutherglen | Happs Margaret River | Harris Organic Wines Swan Valley | Hewitson Barossa Valley | Kladis Estate Shoalhaven Coast | Morris Rutherglen | Mount Prior Rutherglen | Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley | Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen | Sevenhill Wines Clare Valley | Smallfry Wines Barossa Valley | Stanton and Killeen Wines Rutherglen | Talijancich Swan Valley | Transylvania Winery Southern New South Wales Zone | Whinstone Estate Mornington Peninsula

Muscadelle and food

You can enjoy a liqueur M as an aperitif or at the end of the meal. A small glass with a rich fruitcake is not a bad supper or a pick-me-up on a winter afternoon. Stick date pudding or a chocolate based desert will also give you an excuse to try one.

Table wines made with Muscadelle can be enjoyed with a range of foods depending on the sweetness. Dryer styles could go well with soft cheese or maybe pasta with a tomato based sauce.

Sweet Muscadelle wines (Sauternes for example) are best enjoyed with deserts

Although fortified wines like Tokay can keep for a while after opening they will still deteriorate over time. Keep opened bottles in the fridge over summer and in any case use them within a couple of months.

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