The Muscat of Samos AOCMoschato is one of the most selling grapes in the US. The Muscat varietal is the flagship of Samos. The island is located in the eastern Aegean Sea, separated by less than 2 miles from the coast of Turkey, Minor Asia.
Samos ethimology comes from the Phoenicien meaning “rise by the shore’ and it was the land of mathematician Phythagoras. Viticulture has being part of island since Greco-Roman times. The grape called Muscat (Moschato Aspro) gave Samos a respected place in the world of dessert wines. The Muscat varietal is 98% of the island vines.
Samos viticulture, differs much from its past. Today’s winemaking relies in its quality. Exports markets sales are 60% of the production to the world. France is number’s one market for Samos Vin Doux, a famous export category of their sweet wines for the last 150 years.
The island is one of the first sites that Muscat ever registered in wine history. A well domesticated red grape Muscat is called “Au petit grains” or Muscat Frontignan in France. Its clones have been migrating for the last 2000 years with names such as Moscato de Asti, Alessandria, Canelli from Italy , Ottonel in Rumania, Moscatel de Valencia, Spain or Orange Muscat in California.
Their sunny vineyards are planted in terraces (pelouses), enhancing the amphitheaters of mount Ambelos at 900 meters above sea level. Samos receives 3300 hours (Wilker Scale) of sunlight a year, perfect weather for the hard resisting skin of moschato grape.
Today’s wine laws and commerce are run by Union of Viticulturist (EOSS), an institution that includes 26 cooperatives since 1934.
These are the categories of Samos renown sweet wines that you might find in our markets:
- Anthemis,(aged in oak cask for 5 years,complex,cherries preserves, candy,butterscotch many layers)
- Nectar (sun drenched raisings, walnut, toasted aromas – great with honey desserts)
- Grand Cru (from selected terroirs, fine acidity and delicate nuances)
- Phyllas (from organic vines, elegant harmoniuos dried apricots flavors)
- Vin Doux (apricot jam, ripe melons, candy flavors – world famous)
- Altar Wine (aromas of beeswax and incense, oaky, wine used in holy communion, Eucharistic wine )
In my next article, I’ll talk about dry Muscat from the AOC Aegean island.
Poli kala!! Yasas!!
To my all Greek friends and especially a restaurant legend, Nikolas Nikolaidis, one of my mentors in America!