One of our fun wines, the Black Muscat is simple and straightforward, with unadulterated flavors of the grape itself. Anchored by expressive grape character and a hint of pear jelly, it is about as close as you can come to grabbing a cluster off the vine. The smooth, unctuous body is balanced by a clean, crisp alcohol. As a dessert wine, the Black Muscat is neither overpowering nor cloying, instead displaying delightfully crisp and playful nuances—an excellent match for a rich, flourless chocolate cake.
Using 100 percent Black Muscat grapes, we cool fermented the wine in stainless steel tanks to retain the high, pretty aromatics. Approximately halfway through fermentation, at 16º Brix with 10 percent residual sugar, we added a high-proof neutral grape spirit to arrest fermentation. We then pressed the wine clear and allowed it to settle before racking it into old, used barrels for 14 months, which imparted a hint of structure without obscuring the bright aromatics in the nose.
Believed to be one of the oldest domesticated varietals, Muscat is cultivated all over the world. A very vigorous but low-yielding grape, the fruit ripens early and begins to develop high natural sugars if given extended time on the vine. Unlike other varietals, it thrives in slightly higher temperatures. In the warmer growing regions of California, where days are hot, nights are warm, the air remains dry and the soils are deep, it develops potent fruit flavors and intricate sugar complexity.