Author: Kristian Kielmayer, Ágnes Herczeg
The Muscat family is perhaps one of the largest in the grape world, and Sárgamuskotály is one of its most prominent members. It is cultivated in many places and possesses as many names as places where it is grown. Even within Hungary, it has various different names, for example Muscat Lunel, Muscat Blanc and Bárzsing, to name but a few. Its official name is Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. It is probably not of French origin, but rather Greek or Italian. The variety was first mentioned in Italy in the 14th century, but it is also possible that it made its way from Greece to present-day Italy.
Its leaves are medium-sized, lobed and symmetrical with pointed ends, while its clusters are moderately large, long and cylindrical with small berries. It is early-flowering and moderately early ripening.
The variety if found almost everywhere in the world and has a special history wherever it is grown, thus lending its own flavour to this enticing wine. It is most widespread in Italy, for example it is the basis of the Asti sparkling wines, while in France, it is used to make fortified wines in the Rhône Valley and the Languedoc, and it is even drawing attention in China. The variety is also revered in the German-speaking world, where Gelber Muskateller (a word-for-word translation of the Hungarian Sárga Muskotály) produces both dry and noble sweet, botrytised wines. In Austria, plantings of the variety around Lake Neusiedl in the Burgenland have grown exponentially in the last ten years, light wines are produced in Styria and even Wachau takes it pretty seriously.
It is cultivated on 860 hectares in Hungary, representing 10% of vines in the Tokaj wine region. However, it is only found in negligible quantities in the other wine regions, with the exception of the Mátra wine district, where there are large plantings.
As mentioned above, the variety is also responsible for some unique wines, and this is also the case in Hungary. In Tokaj, it not only produces dry wines, but sometimes also Aszú is made entirely from the variety, with both the base wine and the Aszú berries derived from it.
Its fresh grape, grape blossom, perfume and aromatic notes are unquestionably thanks in part to its monoterpenes. It is blessed with fresh acidity and floral aromas such as violet. It is a master of many styles, from bubbles to high alcohol, and from dry to sweet. Perhaps the most important thing to highlight is how long the wines keep, which of course depends a lot on the type of wine. However, these wines are best enjoyed young because of their fresh, primary aromas.
Sárga muskotály grape bunch and leaf
Sárgamuskotály (aka Muscat à Petits Grains) is one of the best-known Muscat grapes in the world. It is one of the most popular everyday incarnations of Muscat, but also makes some high-quality, premium wines. Its very fragrant, characteristic perfumed floral notes make it instantly recognisable. Both dry and sweet wines are extremely popular. Its perfume makes it a popular wine from early spring to late autumn; however, true fans of the variety will drink it all year round. It is often found as a light, dry wine but is just as popular as medium-sweet and sweet styles. Well-chilled Sárgamuskotáy is delicious on its own, but its fresh acidity means it also pairs well with food. Its aromatics and style mean it’s best consumed as young as possible, preferably from the latest vintage. Always store in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to best preserve its fragile, perfumed aromas. Serve straight from the fridge at about 8-10°C in tulip-shaped white wine glass. Sweeter wines are best appreciated a little more chilled.
Ingredients that best match the flavour and texture of wines made from Sárgamuskotály include lettuce, fennel, mint, citrus fruit, tropical fruit, grapes, apples, apricots, young, light cow’s cheeses, fruity cheese, chicken and non-oily white fish. Its aromatic notes also work well with fragrant, lightly spiced exotic chicken or fish dishes, Asian noodles or wok dishes.