At VINO as regulars well know by now, we continually search to find really “good”, interesting wines from along the Mediterranean basin & from afar to bring home & offer our valued guests. Once in a while, we strike GOLD. Yup, this is one of those occasions. The Jackpot!!!!…featuring a quartet of Muscat based white wines. The Muscat grape is very widely planted throughout the world. There are many sub-varieties of this vine and they all produce very different takes, most of which can be quite forgettable. We are fortunate to sample Muscat based wines from around the world. Our task for this tasting was to find four which will show tasters what this grape variety can be, under the right circumstances. Yup, we think these four unforgettable wines are really worth tasting and experiencing. I am pretty jazzed about this one, as we are always looking for really good aromatic white wines, which can create a whole ‘nother dimension to wine & food pairings. Yes, this is yet another tasting that we hope will help affect change.
2015 Botani Moscatel Old Vines”–This is old vine (planted in1946, 1968 and 1975) Moscatel de Alejandría grown on the very steep, rocky (slate & quartz soiled) hillsides of Sierra de Málaga. Yes, yet another dry, aromatic white wine, done with a more masculine, virile touch. We love its uplifting, mesmerizing combination of lime blossom & stony nuances & its striking, dynamic mouthfeel. “Botani Moscatel was chosen in 2016 by Robert Parker as one of the three best wines of the world with best value for money”.
2013 Zind-Humbrect Muscat—“undeniably the most celebrated Muscat producer in the entire appellation”. Where the home turf of Alsace is a rather sleeping, relaxing countryside, it is also the home turf to Olivier Humbrecht one of the world’s larger than life superstar winemakers AND his extraordinary white wines. Yes, his wines have incredible concentration levels, but today, done with much more grace & civility than in his younger years. AND, they also have a clearer focus on terroir than amplification & sheer power. The 2013 Turkheim bottling featured fruit from mainly the alluvial Herrenweg vineyard. It was also a vintage where the acidity levels were naturally higher & the resulting wine that much fresher on the palate. Definitely a wine that will add interesting & different perspective to this tasting.
2014 Les Mille Vignes Muscat Sec–Hear ye, hear ye! Let us introduce you to the wine wizardry of New Age winemaking prodigy Valérie Guérin, the hottest wine phenom in France who has a cult like following for her wines. Her family’s domaine is located in Fitou down in southern France (an exclusively red wine appellation). “The terroir is an amalgam of strong natural elements: clay, limestone, and schist soils; wild scrubland scented with thyme and lavender, and perhaps the most potent force of all, Tramontagne—a fierce wind that sometimes seems it will never stop blowing”. She also produces a miniscule amount of white wine, though not labeled as Fitou, this is a most dazzling and unique white wine produced from the Muscat à petit grains. You will be entranced by how she masterfully combines the stoniness of the soils, character of the surrounding wild countryside with the exotic, profuse, mesmerizing perfume of the Muscat grape, as only she can do. I doubt you have ever had a wine like this before.
2018 Giovanni Montisci “Modestu”–To end this fabulous tasting, we finish with a VERY rare treat!…..a wine I would easily describe as “otherworldly”, it is so wonderfully unique & noteworthy. It really is the wine which made us jump on a plane for 32 hours of planes & airports to go see. PLUS, many hours of driving the radically, ever turning/winding, narrow roads just to actually get there. Montisci owns & works but 2 hectares of vines….in this case at least 60 years in age, grown in sandy-granite soils at roughly 2200 feet in elevation, in the remote mountains of central Sardegna. Yes, this is old vine Moscato vinified dry (or close to it, with a most interesting & unique, fleshy, viscous texture & lots of swag. It certainly caught my fancy. Thankfully, we were able to get ONE case & after a few of years of trying. No, it is not a fad wine. It is a real standout & redefines what this aromatic grape variety can be!