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Legend has it that the ancient Romans discovered the Goldmuskateller wine during their expeditions to the north in what is now the Trentino-Alto Adige growing region. From here, this warmth-loving grape variety spread to all regions of Italy with nutrient-rich soils and sheltered locations. In the international connoisseur circles of the late 20th century, wines with (noble) sweet ageing potential tended to lead a shadowy existence. At the beginning of this millennium, however, strongly aromatic bouquets experienced something of a renaissance: grape varieties with intensely fruity yet fresh aromas such as Scheurebe, Gewürztraminer and (Gold-)Muskateller once again became the public's favorites.
Where does Goldmuskateller grow best?
Muscat grape varieties can be found in almost all wine-growing countries. Goldmuskateller (Moscato Giallo) prefers light, nutrient-rich soils in warm locations. On moist ("fat") soils with a high clay content, it tends to rot; frost does not suit it at all. With a share of 1.7 percent of the vineyard area, it is one of the more "secret stars" of its region of origin, the Alto Adige. Here, Goldmuskateller wine is often found as a single-varietal wine. Wine lovers are more likely to come across higher quality cuvees with Moscato Giallo, for example in the Dolomites region at the Tenuta Ritterhof winery or in Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the range of the Azienda Agricola Livon.
The international career of Moscato Giallo
The rise of the golden muscatel from South Tyrol initially inspired winemakers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Croatia and Switzerland to cultivate this grape variety, with Austria following suit in 2018. The Federal Variety Office had already approved the Goldmuskateller a year earlier. The Bickel-Stumpf winery, for example, produces an exciting blend of Elbling, Gewürztraminer, Goldmuskateller, Gutedel, Muskateller, Riesling and Silvaner. This Gemischter Satz - how could it be otherwise with such a variety of flavors - goes perfectly with spicy dishes with a Mediterranean or Asian touch, such as a delicate curry or gratinated sheep's cheese.
And finally, a warning: potential for confusion
VIVC (Vitis International Variety Catalogue), the grape variety database of the Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants, lists over 20 synonyms for the Goldmuskatellers/Moscato Giallo. In the Padua region, the Goldmuskateller is called "Fior d'Arancio" - but is not identical to the Orangenblütenmuskateller, which originally comes from the Palatinate. Occasionally, there is also confusion between Goldmuskateller and one of its (presumed) predecessors, Gelber Muskateller, a somewhat less robust variety with denser growing berries and thinner skin.
Things to know about Moscato Giallo
Where does Goldmuskateller come from? There is no doubt that Moscato Giallo comes from beautiful South Tyrol - at least according to the winegrowers there. Goldmuskateller is generally regarded as an autochthonous vine of the Alto Adige (or at least northern Italy). This cannot be determined more precisely, nor can the family tree of this grape variety. One parent is thought to be the noble Yellow Muscat (also known as Muscat à petits grains blancs), the other has not yet been identified.
What aromas are typical of Goldmuskateller? Wine from the Moscato Giallo vine is always very aromatic, regardless of whether it is dry, semi-dry, sweet or sweet. Regardless of the flavour, Goldmuskateller wine is characterized by a fruity muscat note. The Kaltern winery in Alto Adige, for example, produces a sweet, single-varietal Goldmuskateller that reveals several fruity notes at once, from nectarine to black cherry and quince. The lively fruit acidity makes even sweet Moscato Giallo taste fresh. And because the Goldmuskatellers brings its distinctive aromatic structure to cuvees, it is often vinified together with other grape varieties, for example with Chardonnay, Picolit and/or Sauvignon Blanc.
What goes well with Goldmuskateller? Elegant, with hints of citrus fruit or flowers and an appetizing nutmeg note, a dry Moscato Giallo is ideal as an aperitif. It also goes very well with light dishes where herbs dominate the aromas, as well as with fresh, not too long matured cheeses. A semi-sweet Goldmuskateller is the ideal complement to delicate, spicy fish and egg dishes. In addition, the sweet to sweet varieties love Asian cuisine (or vice versa?), as long as it is not too spicy on the plate. Last but not least, the home game for the South Tyrolean: typical desserts from the region, such as apricot dumplings, cherry strudel and sheet cake, virtually demand a noble sweet Moscato Giallo. And as a true Italian, he has no objection to a Mediterranean finish, for example a fruit plate with lemon ice cream and a touch of olive oil. Did we mention that, as a sweet wine, Goldmuskateller also goes perfectly with strong blue cheese, such as mature Gorgonzola?
At what drinking temperature does Goldmuskateller wine taste best? Moscato Giallo should be served fresh. However, the subtle interplay of aromas in this noble sweet wine unfolds best between 11 and 13 degrees Celsius, when the acidity structure that sets the tone is content with a subtle role. As a dry aperitif, on the other hand, it can be somewhat cooler at 8 to 12 degrees Celsius.
What does Goldmuskateller taste like? The name suggests it and a sip confirms it - a distinctive nutmeg note characterizes the Goldmuskateller. This is joined by aromas of tangy lemon and ripe apples, nectarines and peaches. The body internalizes a lush acidity that plays around the palate with citrus fruits.
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