Wine & Ratings

Black Muscat

About Black Muscat

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.

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