Muscat Ottonel is a green grape from France’s Loire Valley.
Muscat Ottonel’s great advantage is that it has better cold resistance, and ripens earlier than other Muscat sub varieties.
So even if it is less rich of flavours than its relatives, it has become popular in countries where it fits the climate conditions better than other Muscat family members.
Muscat Ottonel is used to produce semi-dry and sweet wines. In Alsace, you find it in an aromatic semi-dry wine. In Austria it is used to make Prädikatswein, in Croatia, sweet dessert wines, and in Germany Trockenbeerenauslese, often affected by Botrytis Cinerea. Hungary has a similar but still unofficial category for late harvest wines where Muscat Ottonel is one of the grapes used in the production. You can also find dry varietals of Muscat Ottonel, for example in Austria’s south-eastern sub-region Seewinkel.
A dry Muscatel Ottonel will pair nicely with light salads, fish and as an aperitif. The wine is best served at 8-10°C/46-50°.
If comparatively low on residual sugar (e.g. between five and twelve grams per litre), a semi-dry Muscat Ottonel is an excellent paring for hot and spicy food. Better served rather chilled, at 6-8°C/43-46°F.
If your Muscat Ottonel is semi-sweet (e.g. between fifteen and fifty grams of residual sugar per liter), is nice with cheese, for example Gorgonzola or Valdeon. The wine is best served at 9-10°C/48-50°F.
If you are facing a sweet wine (e.g. residual sugar levels higher than fifty grams per litre) it will pair excellently with an aromatic, spicy dessert, such as for example a Saffron Panna Cotta or a Mango and Saffron tart. The wine is best served at 10-12°C/50-54°F
Where is it grown?
Muscat Ottonel is spread to quite a number of countries. However, the majority of those have small plantings. On a world-wide basis, the variety has lost some fifteen percent of plantings between 2000 and 2010, most of this having taken place in Romania (minus thirty-seven percent).
- Romania 3.641 ha/8,997 ac, MPG rank 10, PTPA 2%
- Bulgaria 3.236 ha/7,996 ac, MPG rank 7, PTPA 6%
- Moldavia 1.520 ha/3,756 ac, MPG rank 12, PTPA 2%
- Hungary 1.232 ha/3,044 ac, MPG rank 19, PTPA 2%
- Austria 359 ha/888 ac, MPG rank 22, PTPA 1%
- France 166 ha/410 ac, MPG rank 96, PTPA 0,02%
In many countries the variety can be found more or less in all regions. This is the case in Romania, and the region with most plantings is in South East.
In Bulgaria, it is in Yugoiztochen. In Hungary, it is in Eger and in Kunsag. In Austria, it is found above all in Burgenland. In France, it is however reported to be grown only in Alsace.
There are planted area of smaller sizes also reported to be in the Czech Republic (60 ha/148 ac), Slovakia (48 ha/119 ac), Russia (34 ha/84 ac), Croatia (23 ha/58 ac), South Africa 13 ha/33 ac), Germany (12 ha/30 ac), and in Uruguay (7 ha/17 ac).
Muscat Ottonel is crossing between Chasselas and a Muscat sub variety. It is documented to have been created in 1839 in the Loire Valley in France. It was named in honour of a person with the same name. The reason for this seems to have gone lost in time.