Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs is a green grape from Greece, now the most planted of the Muscat varieties.

Characteristics
This is a low yielding variety that also needs a long growing season. Its resistance to vineyard diseases is not so good, so it is seen as a bit of a difficult grape to grow. It is appreciated both for its ability to produce wines that are light and dry, as well as sweet and spicy. Flavours range from citrus, white flowers, to melon and spiciness.

Wines
Given that it is grown in a large number of countries, Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs is also prepared in a multitude of ways; dry, sweet, fortified and sparkling. How these are prepared will also differ from country to country.

In Italy, it is the main grape in the low alcohol sparkling Moscato d’Asti. It is used also in most other regions. In southern France, you will find it both as a dry varietal and a fortified Vin Doux Naturel. From Greece, you will mostly find sweet wines, but there are dry varietals as well as fortified versions as well. These are examples from just a few countries, see the table below.

Food pairing
A sparkling Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs is excellent choice as an aperitif. The wine is best served at 6-8°C/43-46°F.

Thanks to its inherent sweetness, a dry varietal will pair nicely with hot Asian food. The wine is best served at 8-10°C/46-50°F.

A sweet Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs will pair excellently with a dessert with some acidity, for example a lemon based cake. The wine is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.

A fortified wine will be quite sweet and might be at its best on its own in a glass in the end of the dinner. The wine is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.

Where is it grown?
Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs is the thirty-third most planted grape in the world and was in 2010 planted on 31.183 ha/77,056 ac. This corresponded to an increase in acreage of ten percent between 2000 and 2010, making it the most spread of the Muscat varieties.

Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs is reported to be grown in no less than twenty-seven countries. The countries with the largest plantings are

  • Italy 11.506 ha/28,432 ac, MPG rank 16, PTPA 1,8%
  • France 7.671 ha/18,955 ac, MPG rank 19, PTPA 0,9%
  • Greece 2.162 ha/5,342 ac, MPG rank 8, PTPA 4,2%
  • Spain 1.291 ha/3,190 ac, MPG rank 47, PTPA 0,1%
  • Brazil 1.005 ha/2,483 ac, MPG rank 8, PTPA 2,0%
  • Romania 840 ha/2,076 ac, MPG rank 17, PTPA 0,5%
  • Hungary 709 ha/1,752 ac, MPG rank 32, PTPA 1,7%
  • South Africa 689 ha/1,703 ac, MPG rank 16, PTPTA 0,7%
  • Ukraine 674 ha/1,665 ac, MPG rank 17, PTPA 1,3%
  • Australia 533 ha/1,317, ac, MPG rank 24, PTPA 0,4%
  • Armenia 526 ha/1,300 ac, MPG rank 1, PTPA 4,7%
  • Portugal 505 ha/1,247 ac, MPG rank 49, PTPA 0,3%

Additionally, Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs is grown in the following countries (in order of acreage): Austria, Peru, Slovenia, Mexico, Germany, Moldavia, Russia, Turkey, Argentina, Croatia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Uruguay, Myanmar, and Thailand.

History
Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs has been documented for more than seven-hundred years, and its old age is also confirmed by the number of synonyms, no less than three-hundred and nine (!).

There’s a discussion whether it has originated in Italy or in Greece. Based on the information available, it is most likely of Greek origin. In Greece, it is known as Moschato Samou, indicating that the island of Samos could be the place of origin.