Antigua Muscat de Frontignan
Merryvale Vineyards, 500 ml
Golden in color from its long aging in French oak, the wine is a complex combination of nuts and orange-peel aromas. Thick and rich in the mouth, the nuts and orange-peel theme continues from the entry through the long finish, highlighted by the many subtleties from the fine brandy and time in the barrel.
|Drinking temperature:||10 to 12 °C|
At a young age, Jack Schlatter travelled from Switzerland to Dallas in the 1950s to work in the cotton trade. He later moved to Mexico and São Paulo (as a coffee tester) and back to Zurich to develop the cotton business in the Eastern bloc. But he always had one foot in Dallas and entered the real estate business there. The wine business also appealed to him early on. But it was a while before he met Bill Harlan, the owner of Merryvale.
The winery was founded in 1933 by a group of partners shortly after the Prohibition era ended, and it attracted over the decades several famous personalities as partners, consultants or owners: Peter and Robert Mondavi from the beginning and then Bill Harlan in the 1980s. Jack Schlatter became a fifty-fifty partner in 1991 and brought the winery into the European and Asian markets. He purchased the winery outright in 1994. Today, his son René stands firmly at the helm.
The historic building is located in the south of the small town of St. Helena at the heart of Napa Valley. The winery-owned Estate Vineyards lie to the east of St. Helena at about 280 metres above sea level. Around 10 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were planted here in 1997. At that time, Michel Rolland was the expert consultant for Merryvale.
A sweet family
Over 200 varieties have “Muscat” in their names, and many are completely unrelated. What they share is a fragrance of fresh grapes. Muscat owes its name to the intense aroma. It derives from the word “musk”, and appears in documents dating from 1230. The most common representative of the Muscat line is the white Muscat blanc à petits grains. In Italy, it is known as Moscato Bianco, and in Germany and Styria as Gelber Muskateller. In Switzerland it is called Muscat du Valais. Researchers largely agree that it originated in Greece, and from there found its way via Italy to southern France. When crafted with expert hands, it turns out fresh, floral and spicy with a slightly tart note. Pressing it into high quality wines is not very easy. Sweet forms have greater renown, such as Muscat de Rivesaltes and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise from southern France or Muscat from the Greek island of Samos.