Think Port wine is the only sweet wine under the proverbial Portuguese sun? Well, think again.

The golden Moscatel de Favaios, made from Portugal’s Muscat grapes in the lush Douro Valley, is a clear apéritif with lovely shades of gold and a subtle, complex aroma with notes of lime, orange, melon, raisins and almonds and perhaps some floral aromas like rose and linden.

A sweet, fortified wine, Moscatel de Favaios is best served chilled and enjoyed purely as an apéritif, or perhaps matched with some cheese, before a meal to stimulate your appetite. If Portuguese food weren’t so incredible, one might even indulge in making the apéritif and cheese the entire meal itself (seriously, no one’s judging). This elegant and fresh flavour, with well-balanced sweetness, is also a lovely choice to pair with desserts.

Moscatel de Favaios is the type of wine where only the best grapes are selected for use. Fermentation then takes place at very controlled temperatures (59 Fahrenheit-61 Fahrenheit) and lasts for two-three days, intensely saturating the skins of the grapes. Brandy is then added, inducing high levels of alcohol and residual sugar. Maceration of the grape skins continue at lowered temperatures for another five or six days. Then once the juices in the grapes have been pressed, the wine is then aged for a few years before being bottled.

This particular Moscatel is also excellent jumping off point for learning more about the various Moscatels of Portugual. The word “Moscatel” is of course the Portuguese and Spanish variant for “Muscat.” Muscat grapes are one of the oldest grapes used for making wines. With over 200 varieties used both in wine production and raisin and table grapes, their colours range from white to yellow to pink to brown to near black. All wines from this family share a flowery, strongly aromatic character often referred to as “grapey.”

AmaWaterways treats you to both a tasting of this Moscatel, along with a delicious feast of traditional, Portuguese foods at a breathtakingly beautiful wine estate located right in the heart of Favaios, the Quinta da Avessada. Built over a century ago, the estate utilises both traditional methods of winemaking and its owners have worked diligently to develop modern systems in keeping with the technology of the times. Dining with the vivacious quinta’s owner and family is sure to be one of the most special and authentic experiences of your visit to Portugal!

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