Gelber Muskateller is the German name, and one of a vast number of names worldwide, for Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains which is a very old variety.
Not be confused with the inferior high-yielding standard Muscat (Muskat-Ottonel), this is an altogether better variety but one which is hard to cultivate. It is grown only in small quantities as it is very demanding on location, being sensitive to rot from fungal attacks and frost, although it is not fussy about soil type. They make an excellent summer wine.
Although often made into dry, light wines, it can be made sweet. Unusually, there is often the aroma of grapes in these wines and smoky and spicy aromas that continue on to the palate with plentiful fruit and a lingering acidity. There is some nuttiness and a hint of orange. This is another white wine that is worth drinking now and laying some down for future years.
There are records of the Gelber Muskateller being grown in the Wachau as long ago as 1400, although there is also a long tradition of its cultivation in Styria and Burgenland. It is used to make wines in a variety of styles from dry, all the way up to Prädikat, with the stronger examples having tremendous storage potential. They are truly some of my favourite wines - such an aromatic nose and particularly good as an apéritif or with appetisers.
It is believed that the grape originated from Greece and was disseminated through Italy and into France by the Romans.
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