Moscatel is one of Portugal’s most well-known unique fortified wines. It comes from the Setubal peninsula and is made with a variety of grapes. The wine is known for its richness and balance of sweet and acidic components. It is recommended to accompany nougat or chocolate desserts and blue cheese.
It’s a sweet wine
The Moscatel of Setubal is a sweet fortified wine from the Setubal Peninsula in Portugal. It is made from muscat grapes and has a strong citrus flavor and luscious aroma. This fortified dessert wine is rich and pairs well with all kinds of desserts.
Young moscatel wines have a pale gold color and taste like orange blossoms, honey and raisins. With age, they develop a deeper color and aroma of orange peel and tangerine. They also become nuttier and raisiny.
Most Moscatel wines are aged for five years before they are sold. A few spend ten or more years in barrels before being bottled. These aged moscatel wines are labeled as “Colheita” with the year that they were harvested on the bottle. These wines have more complex flavors and are often reminiscent of dried fruits, flowers and figs. Moscatel of Setubal has a unique flavor that makes it stand out from other fortified dessert wines.
It’s a fortified wine
The Moscatel de Setubal is a fortified wine made from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. It is produced in the Setubal Peninsula wine region and has a unique terroir with sandy and clay soils and cliffs of Arrabida. This terroir offers excellent ripening conditions for the grapes.
Unlike other fortified wines, which are stopped with pure alcohol, the grapes used to make Moscatel de Setubal are left to macerate in the wine. The wine then spends a few months or even up to a year in barrels, where the aromas of the grape skin intensify.
These sweet dessert wines have luscious notes of mandarin orange, candied lemon peel and apricots complemented with salty caramel, Manuka honey, dried fruit, orange blossom, and cinnamon spice. They can be enjoyed on their own or as a companion to chocolate or nougat desserts. As the wine ages, it will darken to a golden or even mahogany color and develop complex fig and walnut aromas.
It’s a national heritage
Known as “the bottled sun”, Moscatel of Setubal is a fortified wine that is a true national heritage, appreciated by the Portuguese people since time immemorial. The fortified wine, made with a combination of grapes from different years, is sweet and very fruity. It is a perfect drink for aperitif or dessert, and it goes very well with dried fruits or tapas.
The grape variety Moscatel is unique in the world, and the wines it produces are generous and balanced. It has a golden color (it becomes even more golden as the wine ages) and aromas that include citrus flowers and peel, honey, linden, rose, lychees, pear and dates.
In its youngest phase, Moscatel of Setubal is fruity and silky in the mouth. It is ideal for aperitif or as dessert, and it is recommended to serve it between 10o and 12oC. It should be accompanied by a few dried fruits or with orange, lemon or chocolate candies.
It’s a luxury
The wines of the Setubal Peninsula are often overlooked, but they’re a true luxury. The area’s unique terroir provides a combination of Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, creating some truly memorable wines. The wines of the region are both rich and balanced, with a special focus on aromatic profiles.
These aromas can range from citrus flowers and peel to honey, linden, rose, lychees, pear, and dates. The result is a wine that has a deep golden color and distinctive flavors.
Max Graham, senior wine buyer at Waitrose, says that Moscatel is a great wine to have on hand for entertaining. He describes it as “a drink for the more elevated and exclusive consumer, with good balancing acidity, lifted floral fragrance, concentration but freshness.” It’s a perfect match for cheeses that have a gooey center. It’s also great for desserts that you might drizzle with caramel. This is a truly under-sung wine, which deserves a lot more attention from the UK market.
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.