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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Muscat de Frontignan AOC

Description to Muscat de Frontignan AOC

The appellation is located in the south-east of the French wine-growing region Languedoc on the Mediterranean coast. To the east is the AOC Muscat de Mireval and a little further northeast is the AOC Muscat de Lunel (both with similar wines). This white sweet wine was the first of the four Vin doux naturel to be classified as AOC in 1936. It belongs to the second quality category "Grands Vins du Languedoc". The vineyards cover around 800 hectares of vines on clay soils with a high iron oxide content and a reddish colour, interspersed with limestone. They cover the communes of Frontignan and Vic-la-Gardiole in the department of Hérault.

This is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in France. Already Pliny the Younger (61-113) emphasized the "bee wine" in his letters, which are important in cultural history. So even then a sweet wine must have been produced, but the famous doctor Arnaldus de Villanova (1240-1311) is considered the inventor of the Vin doux naturel. He said that by drinking it every day he felt many years younger. From the 17th to the 18th century the wine was very popular in Paris and London. The English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) praised the "Frontiniac" in 1676. At that time it was compared with the Constantia (South Africa). Other enthusiasts were Voltaire (1694-1778) and the later US president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). The locals like to tell the story of the visit of the Marquise de Lur-Saluces to Frontignan in 1700, where he was said to have been inspired by the pleasure of wine to produce sweet wine at his Château d'Yquem.

Muscat de Frontignan is considered the best of the four VDN appellations in the Languedoc. In all of them, only the grape variety Muscat Blanc (also called Muscat de Frontignan here, just like the wine) may be used. The wine must have a minimum residual sugar content of 125 g/l and 15% alcohol by volume. There is also a vin de liqueur where the alcohol is added before fermentation. It is bottled in a special bottle created in 1904 with a "twisted" neck. Well-known producers are Cave Favier-Bel, Domaine du Mas Rouge, CV du Muscat de Frontignan, Château de la Peyrade and Château de Stony. The other three VDN appellations are Muscat de Lunel, Muscat de Mireval and Muscat de Saint-Jean de Minervois. In the wine-growing region of Roussillon to the east there are the VDN appellations Banyuls, Maury, Muscat de Rivesaltes and Rivesaltes.


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