Moscatel of Setúbal – Sun In a Bottle!
One of the most well-known Portuguese wines, the Moscatel de Setúbal, originated in the Península de Setúbal, a former subdivision of the city of Lisbon.
The wine is made primarily from the Muscat of Alexandria grape and typically fortified with aguardente, a general term for alcoholic beverages of between 29% and 60% alcohol. An important Portuguese national heritage, the wine rose to fame when Richard II, the King of England between 1377 and 1399, became a principal importer of Moscatel de Setúbal. Another factor that played a significant role in raising the wine’s image was the expansion of Portugal and the country’s subsequent naval transportation of the wines to their colonies.
Due to the heat exposure that the barrels experienced throughout these extensive cross-ocean journeys, the wine is said to have gained significantly in quality. And because of this, the Frenchman Léon Douarche admiringly nicknamed it Sun In a Bottle.
Also read: An Introduction to French Wine
The Setúbal designation of origin is intended only for wines of at least 85% Moscatel de Setúbal or Moscatel Roxo. Other varieties are also, occasionally, authorized by the Regulatory Commission of Portugal.