Muscat of Alexandria is a white wine grape that is a member of the Muscat family of Vitis vinifera. It is considered an “ancient vine”, and wine experts believe it is one of the oldest genetically unmodified vines still in existence. While today it is mostly cultivated as a table grape or for raisin production, it is still an important grape in the Australian and South African wine industry. It is also cultivated very heavily on the islands of Samos, and Lemnos in the North Eastern Aegean region of Greece, and reputedly Cleopatra drank muscat wine from there. It is also thought to rival the French Beaume de Venise in its most refined form. In Italy wine is made from the grape on the island of Pantelleria, and in Spain, the grape is used for wine around Málaga, Alicante, Valencia, and the Canary Islands. The grape originated in North Africa, and the name is probably derived from its association with Ancient Egyptians who used the grape for wine making. It is also a table grape used for eating and raisins
The vine thrives in a hot climate and is particularly sensitive to the cold during its flowering season. It is ripe in August, is a seeded grape.
Wine made from Muscat of Alexandria has a distinctive taste of grapes, and was popular in the postwar era when tastes tended towards the sweet and uncomplicated. The vines are prolific producers but are very susceptible to powdery mildew and so are only grown in the most arid regions.
Production was mainly in California, Australia and South Africa, but the wine styles originated in southern Europe and northern Africa, Turkey and the Levant. Much was used in the production of sherry and port as well as brandy, either distilled as brandy spirit or for base wine. As demand for these wines declined from the 1960s, gordo blanco was used to create still and sparkling wines using European labels like “Riesling”, “Moselle” and “Champagne” and “Liebfrauwein” (until such use was banned by law and trade agreements) which bore only a stylistic resemblance to their inspiration. In Málaga the grape is often blended with Pedro Ximénez to create a strong wine that varies in color from gold to dark black. In Australia, the grape is used principally to increase the alcohol content in both white and red wines in a cool season, in wines sold as “Moscato”, and in cheap bladder pack wines. In Portugal, Vinho Moscatel (Moscatel Wine) is a sweet wine widely produced in the Setúbal Peninsula region, just south of Lisbon, as well as in Favaios, Alijó and other areas of the Portuguese Douro, in northern Portugal.
Muscat of Alexandria is also known under the synonyms Acherfield’s Early Muscat, Aggliko, Albillo de Toro, Aleksandrijski Muskat, Alexander Muskat, Alexandriai Muskotally, Alexandrian Frontignan, Alexandriski Muskat, Anglico, Angliko, Apostoliatiko, Argelino, Augibi, Augibi Blanc, Augibi de Muscat, Augibi Muscat, Augihi Muscat, Bornova Misketi, Bowood Muscat, Broccula, Cabas à la Reine, Charlesworth Tokay, Chasselas Fleur d’Oranger, Chasselas Musqué, Cibeben Muskateller, Cibib, Cibib Muskatani Bijeli, Damascener Weiss Muscat, Damaszkuszi Muskotally, Daroczy Musko, Englesiko, Escholada Superba, Fruity Lexia, Gerosolimitana Bianca, Gordo, Gris de Muscat, Hanepoot, Hbiqui, Isidori, Iskenderiye Misketi, Iskendiriye Misketi, Jubi, Jubi Blanc, Kabridja, Kabrija, Kalabrija, Malaga, Malaga Blanc, Malakay, Meski, Moscatel, Moscatel Bianco, Moscatel Blanco, Moscatel de Alejandria, Moscatel de Aleyandria, Moscatel de Chipiona, Moscatel de Espana, Moscatel de Grano Gordo, Moscatel de Jesus, Moscatel de Lanzarote, Moscatel de Malaga, Moscatel de Samso, Moscatel de Setubal, Moscatel de Valencia, Moscatel Flamenco, Moscatel Gordo, Moscatel Gordo Blanco, Moscatel Gorron, Moscatel Groso, Moscatel Malaga, Moscatel Real, Moscatel Roma, Moscatel Romano, Moscatel Romano Blanco, Moscatel Ulmancia, Moscatellone, Moscatelon, Moscatelone, Moscato di Alessandria, Moscato di Calabria, Moscato di Pantellaria, Moscato di Pantelleria, Moscato Gordo, Moscato Romano, Moschato Alexandrias, Moschato Limnou, Muscat, Muscat A Gros Grains, Muscat Bowood, Muscat Caminada, Muscat Candia, Muscat Croquant, Muscat d’Alesandrie, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Muscat d’Alexandrie Blanc, Muscat d’Alexandrie de Raf Raf, Muscat d’Espagne, Muscat de Alexandria, Muscat de Caminada, Muscat de Jerusalem, Muscat de Kelibia, Muscat de Raf-Raf, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Roma, Muscat de Rome, Muscat de Sagunto, Muscat de Sale, Muscat Escholata, Muscat Flame, Muscat Gardo, Muscat Gordo Blanco, Muscat Grec, Muscat Llansa, Muscat Primavis, Muscat Romain, Muscat Tynningham, Muscataiu, Muscatdamascener Weiss, Muscatellone di Espagna, Muscato Romano, Muskat Aleksandriiskii, Muskat Etolyata, Muskat Krupni, Muskat Mali, Muskat Rapski, Muskat Veliki, Pais Myuske, Panse Muscade, Panse Muscat, Panse Musque, Panse Musquee, Paradisia, Pasa de Malaga, Pascal Muscat, Passe Muscat, Raisin de Malaga, Raisin du Husaco, Roode Hanepoot, Ryton Muscat, Salamanca, Salamanna, Salamanna Bianca, Salamonica, Seralamanna, Smirnai Szagos, Spanier Weiss, Tamaiioasa de Alexandria, Tokay Musqué, Tottenham Park Muscat, Tynningham Muscat, Uva Aceituna, Vanille Raisin, Vizaca, White Hanepoot, White Muscat of Alexandria, White Muscat of Lunel, White Romain, Zibeben-Muscateller Weisser, Zibibbo, Zibibbo Blanco, Zibibbo di Pantelleria, Zibibbu, Zibibbu di Sicilia, Zihibbo, Zihibbo di Marcellinaria, Zihibbo di Milazzo, Zihibbo di Pantelleria, Zihibbo di Termini, Zihibbo di Trapani, Zihibbo Hianco Moscato, and Zihibbu di Sicilia.