Domaine de Blanes Muscat de Rivesaltes 2007
This is France’s biggest Muscat appellation and is responsible for 70% of the country’s total Muscat production. By law Muscat de Rivesaltes must be made from both Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. While the former was historically favored for its high yields, the latter now is becoming more popular for its superior quality. Longer skin contact and arresting fermentation during maceration on skins (also called mutage) are useful techniques to enhancing the complexity of these.
While Muscat comes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and even fortified, it's safe to say it is always alluringly aromatic and delightful. The two most important versions are the noble, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, making wines of considerable quality and Muscat of Alexandria, thought to be a progeny of the former. Somm Secret—Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing Muscat.