Black Muscat is a red wine and table grape, better known as Muscat of Hamburg, and is one of the over 200 grape varieties to share a variation of the Muscat name. It is more common as a table grape for eating, though it is also used to produce wine. The grape is cultivated in France, Eastern Europe, Greece, California and China.
The Muscat family of grapes includes many distinct grape varieties, of which Black Muscat is one. Though each is unique, varying widely in color as well as other factors, they are said to share a common characteristic. All smell and taste of grapes typically enjoyed for eating, rather than in wine production.
The Black Muscat Grape
Black Muscat, or Muscat of Hamburg, is a plump, dark-skinned grape. Despite its name, it is more blue than black in color. It is more popular for snacking than for making wine, though it is cultivated for wine production in various parts of the world.
As a table grape, Black Muscat is grown in France, the UK, parts of eastern Europe, Greece and Australia. It is a hearty, juicy grape that can survive long-distance transport, and consumers enjoy its strong Muscat grape flavors.
Wine produced from Black Muscat does not have the same level of prestige as those from Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains, but various regions cultivate the grape specifically to make wine. Notable regions for Black Muscat wine production include Eastern Europe, California, Greece, Italy and China.
Popular Types of Muscat Grapes
The best known and highest quality is Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains, often referred to simply as Muscat. It is a grandparent of Black Muscat. As its name may suggest, its berries are particularly small—though they are not necessarily always white. Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains can produce white, pink and red berries. In addition to its grapy aromas, this Muscat shows spice and floral notes. This Muscat is common in Italy where it produces Moscato wines, Languedoc-Roussillon in France where it produces sweet and dry wines, and elsewhere, including Australia and its homeland, Greece.
Another significant Muscat is Muscat of Alexandria, a parent of Black Muscat. Its wines tend to be sweet, high in alcohol and show some subtle grapelike aromas. It is cultivated most prominently in Australia, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
Muscat Ottonel is another significant Muscat grape variety. Like Black Muscat, it is also commonly eaten. Its grape aromas are less pronounced than in other Muscat varieties. Its berries are the palest colored of any Muscat variety. The Muscat Ottonel grape is grown in Alsace, Austria, Hungary and Romania, among others.
Explore top-rated Muscat wines, of the black varietal or otherwise, using Wine Enthusiast’s online Buying Guide. Our staff has taste tested each to help you make a quick selection that’s accurate to your personal taste.
Domaine des Bernardins NV Hommage (Muscat de Beaumes de Venise)Rhône ValleyMade from a blend of 75% white and 25% black Muscat à ...See Full Review$40
Domaine des Bernardins 2017 Muscat de Beaumes de VeniseRhône ValleyMade from a blend of 75% white and 25% black Muscat à ...See Full Review$32
Via Romano 2015 Moscato di Nero Black Muscat (Sierra Foothills)Sierra FoothillsAn amazing floral aroma lights up this supersweet and fortified red wine ...See Full Review$28
Quady 2016 Elysium Black Muscat (California)California OtherQuite sweet but not heavy in body, this fruity, rich and concentrated ...See Full Review$25
Shenandoah Vineyards 2013 Black Muscat Muscat Hamburg (Amador County)Sierra FoothillsThis dessert-style wine is very fruity, quite sweet and boosted in alcohol. ...See Full Review$12
Maison Marcel 2016 Rosé (Mediterranée)France OtherDon't be fooled by this wine. Although it looks like a typical ...See Full Review$12
Miraflores NV Black Muscat (Sierra Foothills)Sierra FoothillsThis extremely sweet, rich, ripe, fortified dessert wine is made from the ...See Full Review$45
Lion-Gri 2015 Château d'Or Sparkling Red Muscat (Moldova)MoldovaThis sparkling red wine made from Muscat is cherry red in color. ...See Full Review$9
Quady 2014 Elysium Black Muscat (California)California OtherAn amazingly sweet and rich wine, this has a floral aroma and ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$22
Acorn 2013 Alegria Vineyards Heritage Vines Zinfandel (Russian River Valley)SonomaA co-fermented field blend from vineyards dating back more than 125 years, ...See Full Review$45
Moscato Bella 2014 Sweet Red Black Muscat (California)California OtherThis wine has a deep rose color, an aroma like watermelon and ...See Full Review$12
Pulchella 2013 Red, White & Blue Red (El Pomar District)Central CoastThis field blend of 56% Zinfandel, 41% Alicante Bouchet, 2% Burger and ...See Full Review$34
Ferrari-Carano 2012 Eldorado Noir Black Muscat (Russian River Valley)Sonomahis is a very sweet wine, but unfortunately the fruit is too ...See Full Review$30
Quady 2012 Elysium Black Muscat (California)California OtherElysium is crafted from Black Muscat grapes grown in the Central Valley ...See Full Review$25
Vezer Family Vineyard 2007 Franci Black Muscat (California)California OtherLike pulling up to a fruit stand in the Central Valley on ...See Full Review$24
Ferrari-Carano 2010 El Dorado Noir Black Muscat (Russian River Valley)SonomaThis dessert wine is richly honeyed in raspberries and cherries. It appeals ...See Full Review$30
Quady 2010 Elysium Black Muscat (California)California OtherWith nearly 20% residual sugar, this wine is enormously sweet in honey ...See Full Review$21
Agrolaguna 2009 Muškat Ruža Muscat (Istria)CroatiaThe rose petal aromas on this heady, ruby-hued dessert Muškat Ruža, or ...See Full Review$15
Hyatt 2009 Black Muscat (Rattlesnake Hills)Columbia ValleyLabeled off dry but with little or no sweetness, this is a ...Best BuySee Full Review$10
Quady 2009 Elysium Black Muscat (California)California OtherA beautiful dessert wine that should influence consumers to rediscover the category. ...See Full Review$25