Muscat grapes are used to make a variety of sweet dessert wines in just about every part of the wineworld and, more rarely, dry or semi-dry table wines. A fair amount of the dessert wines are fortified, though muscat is also used to produce wines from late harvest, botrytized or partially-dried grapes, as well as an increasingly popular style of semi-sweet sparkling wine, Moscato, originally from Piedmont, in Italy, but now produced in a growing number of countries.
There are, in fact, a number of varieties bearing the name Muscat: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (the most frequent), Muscat of Alexandria, Black Muscat, Moscato Giallo, Muscat Ottonel, New York Muscat, etc. All these variations share an exuberant fruitiness, with aromas of peach or apricot, as well as floral and/or spicy notes. They also bear a large number of synonyms, depending on whether they are planted in French-, Spanish-, German-, Italian-speaking or other countries.
Among the numerous appellations where muscat is present, notable examples include the vin doux naturels of Southern France (Frontignan, Beaumes-de-Venise, Rivesaltes, etc.), the muscats of Alsace (where the grape is also used in traditional white blends), Samos Muscat from Greece, Moscatels from Portugal and Spain and, here in Canada, a number of wines in Nova Scotia where Muscat Ottonel and New York Muscat play a successful and important role.