Known as Moscato in Italy, and Moscatel in Portugal and Spain, Muscat is one of the oldest continually cultivated grape varietals in the world. It originally came out of the Middle East, and was picked up by the ancient Greeks, who brought it to Italy and elsewhere in their empire. Because of its astounding age and continuous use, it has long since been mutated and crossbred to produce dozens of subspecies, and it is known by lots of synonyms and regional names. Because of this, it is fair to say that there is no ‘true’ Muscat grape. The most popular - and oldest - varietal within this group, however, is Muscat Blanc au Petit Grains, which is grown with great results most notably in France and South Africa.
Known for its light and fruity character, Muscat of Alexandria is the second oldest of the Muscat grapes, and is found in several countries around the Mediterranean. The grape is prized for its versatility - indeed, almost every imaginable type of wine style, from dry to medium to sweet and sparkling, can be made from this varietal. Generally speaking, though, Muscat grapes have a relatively low acidity which make them unsuitable for ageing, meaning the vast majority of Muscat wines are drank very young, wherein they can express their best features.