Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains is the cumbersome but descriptive full name of the oldest and noblest variety of Muscat with the greatest concentration of fine grape flavour, hinting at orange-flowers and spice. Its berries and seeds are, as its name suggests, particularly small, and they are round as opposed to the larger, oval berries of muscat of alexandria—in fact another synonym for this superior variety is Muscat à Petits Grains Ronds. But its berries are not, as its principal ampelographical name suggests, invariably white. In fact there are pink-, red-, and black-berried versions (although the dark berries are not so deeply pigmented that they can produce a proper red wine) and some vines produce berries whose colour varies considerably from vintage to vintage. Many synonyms for the variety include reference to the yellow or golden (gallego, giallo, gelber) colour of its berries. And Brown Muscat is one of Australia’s names for a Muscat population that is more dark than light, and resembles South Africa’s Muskadel in that respect (thereby providing more evidence of early viticultural links between these two southern hemisphere producers). Wine Grapes lists no fewer than 60 synonyms of this ancient variety, including Muscat of Frontignan, Frontignac, Muscat Blanc, Muscat d’Alsace, Muskateller, Moscato Bianco, Moscato d’Asti, Moscato di Canelli, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Moscatel de Frontignan, Muscatel Branco, White Muscat, Muscat Canelli, and Muskadel (in South Africa). Any Muscat with the words Alexandria, Gordo, Romain, Hamburg, or Ottonel in its name is not this superior variety.