Our White Port program started back in the 1994 as an experiment and quickly became a favorite wine in our tasting room and among members of the Port Club. Through the years we made white port from French Colombard, Viognier and lastly from Muscat Canelli. The grapes came from an older vineyard up in Lake County. Known by many names, this grape’s official French name is Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, which translates as ‘Muscat with small berries’. In California, the name Muscat Canelli is common, derived from Moscato di Canelli, a name used in Italy. In the northern hemisphere, this late-ripening variety is mainly used to make semi-sweet and sweet dessert wines, or as a table grape. Grown in many countries, including Austria and Germany (Muskateller), Hungary (Muscat Lunel), and France (Muscat Frontignan), it may be the oldest known grape, having been confirmed as growing around the Mediterranean for centuries. However, it should not be confused with Muscat of Alexandria, a grape with a similar ancient history in the same region
For the making of the Port we left the grapes on the vines a bit longer to reach optimal ripeness when the sugars reached 27-29 brix. At that ripeness, the Muscat grapes fully express their wonderful aromas of white peach, apricots and leechee fruit. The grapes were pressed whole cluster and fermented cold in stainless steel tanks. The grape brandy was added and the fermentation stopped mid-way with residual sugar of 12%. After relatively short aging, the wine was lightly filtered and bottled. Our Muscat Canelli Port is a “fun” wine with silky, sweet but balanced mouth feel, without being too “sticky” sweet. The aromas and flavors are delicate and enticing, making this wine a great dessert treat at the end of a meal.