Muscat Ottonel

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Muscat Ottonel is the palest of all the Muscats, both in terms of the colour of wine produced and in terms of its character. Its aroma is altogether more vapid than the powerful grapey perfumes associated with muscat blanc à petits grains and muscat of alexandria. It was bred in 1839 and released in 1852 in the Loire, probably as a table grape from chasselas and another minor variety.

Its tendency to ripen earlier than these other two Muscats has made it much easier to cultivate in cooler climates and nowadays Muscat Ottonel is the dominant Muscat cultivated, on a few hundred hectares, in alsace. This low-vigour vine, which does best in deep, damp soils, is also grown throughout eastern Europe, notably in austria, where it is planted in Burgenland. It may well be that it is at its best as a late-harvest wine, for there are some fine, apparently long-living examples from both hungary and romania (where the variety is often known, respectively, as Muskotály and tămâioasă Ottonel). Romania and Bulgaria, where it is often labelled misket, probably have the biggest areas of the variety: more than 2,500 ha and 5,000 ha respectively.