You've probably never had a Valvin Muscat before (based on the sheer scarcity of the variety), but Villa Bellangelo on Seneca Lake is betting you'll like it.
Their Valvin Muscat has become a flagship wine, and we were there when this year's crop came in.
Winemaker Darren Bowker estimated the brix to be around 18 with the fruit weighing just over 7 tons per acre. "We'd like a little higher brix and a little lower weight, but this is not a grape that needs to be down at two or three tons," Bowker said. "And just tasting the berries, we're excited about what we have this year."
The fruit, sourced from Glenora Farms, showed some diverse flavors. The greener berries were a touch tart, but the more yellow fruit showed explosive flavors that are distinctly evocative of Muscat wines. Bowker crafts the grapes into a wine called Semi-Sparkling Moscato, which carries a big dose of residual sugar (it's like a dessert wine). "We think of it as a kind of prosecco," the winemaker explains. "There's a bit of spritz. Our customers have just loved it." The winery sells Moscato for $16.99 per 750ml bottle and it has moved quickly.
It will be interesting to see if more producers bottle a Valvin Muscat in the coming harvests. A hybrid developed at the Cornell Experiment Station, you can read more about Valvin Muscat -- and one of its chief proponents -- by clicking here.