One of the most widely grown and easily recognized wine grape varietals in the world is the Muscat, an ancient grape with an exceptional amount of versatility. For centuries, Muscat varietal grapes have been used all over Europe for the production of wonderfully fruity wines of many different shades and colors, which, with their strong 'grapey' flavor have come to be known as a quintessential fine wine grape. Their relatively high acidity also means they are ideal for the production of sparkling wines, and the fizzy Muscat wines of Italy are widely agreed to be amongst the best in the world. In more recent years, New World countries have shown a huge amount of flair when it comes to the Muscat grape, and have had plenty of success in allowing its natural and vibrant character to come through in the bottle.
In many ways, Hungary is an unlikely candidate for one of Europe's most ideal locations for wine production and viticulture. It enjoys long hot summers, balmy warm autumns and late frosts. Its soils are rich in minerals, fed by the mighty river Danube, and there is a wine culture here which stretches back to the Romans and which influenced the rest of the world. Today, Hungary's wines remain relatively unknown in the wider world, despite their importance in wine history. The sweet and viscous wines of the Tokaj region are a testament to the quality of Hungary's produce â€“ made using noble rot on the vines, they are intense, highly aromatic and quite unlike anything else on earth. Once the favorite of European royalty, Hungarian wines today are something of a well kept secret, enjoyed by serious wine lovers looking for something a little different.