Wine Wednesday: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
By Cecily Gamba
Happy Wine Wednesday Rhône lovers! We are back for your weekly Rhône 101 lesson, this time exploring Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise are, just as you’d imagine, sweet wines coming from the village of Beaumes de Venise, and are Muscat-based. Though granted their own controlled appellation in 1945, these wines have been produced in this region for much, much longer.
The first mention of Muscat wines from the region that is now Beaumes de Venise was from Pliny the Elder in the 1st century (2000 years ago!). In his Natural History, he writes, “The Muscat grape has been grown for a long time in Beaumes and its wine is remarkable.” In the 14th century, Pope Clement V had 70 acres of Muscat planted on the hillsides of the area, but shortly after, religious wars had almost eradicated the vineyards. The 18th century saw a resurgence of vines in the area, only to fall victim to phylloxera. But, once again, in the 20th century, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise flourished, and vineyards were replanted. The region officially received AOC status in 1945, and shortly thereafter, begun to rival the sweet wines of Germany and Bordeaux.
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise are unique in that the sweet wines are made from naturally ripe grapes, rather than grapes attacked by botrytis (also known as “noble rot”). Grapes affected by botrytis as pierced by the fungus, which drained the grape of water, therefore concentrating the sugars and acids. With Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, the grape is inherently sweet.
Try it at the girl & the fig!
Domaine de Durban, 2015 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
“Expresses itself with finesse. Delicate flavors tingle the tongue with notes of pear and apricot.”