Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Muscat d’Alexandrie

Muscat Romain (France); Salamanne (Italy); Zibibbo (Sicily); Hanepoot (South Africa); Moscatel Gordo (Spain).

 Origin and cultivation background
Muscat d’Alexandrie is one of the oldest cultivars in South Africa, dating back to the Van Riebeeck era. The French name of the cultivar suggests it could have originated in the region close to the ancient harbour of Alexandria. There are indications that it was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Although it occurs in all the warm wine countries, it is probably most popular in
South Africa, where this multipurpose cultivar is used for table grapes, raisins, grape juice, moskonfyt, and natural table and liqueur wines. There is also a red mutation (Red Hanepoot), which is still cultivated on a very limited scale. White Hanepoot is found in all the regions, with the largest plantings in Worcester, followed by the Olifants River area.

Cultivation characteristics
Muscat d’Alexandrie is moderately vigorous and has a semi-upright growth habit. Particular with regard to soil and climate — prefers reasonably deep soil with good water-retention ability and a moderate climate, but warm conditions during flowering. It is very fertile and has a high yield potential when spur pruned. Best adapted as goblet (bush) vines or trellised on low trellises.

Produces short, thick shoots (short internodes below), which become thinner towards the tips. The canopy is dense because of numerous water shoots. Careful attention should be paid to canopy management practices — particularly suckering. Susceptible to oidium, downy mildew and anthracnose, and very susceptible to erinose and bud mites. Also susceptible to sunburn damage — older leaves often display irregular yellow to brown uneven sunburnt spots. It is an old cuItivar which means that many vines have degenerated — reproductive material should therefore be selected carefully. Recently, thorough selection and virus elimination have solved many of the problems affecting successful cultivation, e.g. poor setting in older clones. Problems regarding compatibility with a variety of rootstock cultivars have largely been eliminated byplant improvement procedures.

Yield potential
20—23 tons per ha
Average sugar concentration
Average acid concentration
5—6 g/l
Clone characteristics :
HP   28 - above average production, big berries and bunches
HP   32 – above average productions, big bunches

Shoot tips
Slightly webby, deep rose.
Medium-sized, round, five-lobed, dark green, blistered, slightly webby underneath. The petiole sinus is V-shaped, narrow to almost closed. The lateral sinuses are medium to deep and narrow with lobes (apical sinuses) : that tend to overlap. The teeth are rectilinear, narrow and pointed. The petioles are thick, often reddish brown.
Medium to large, conical, shouldered, fairly branched and loose. Wing bunches are : prominent. The peduncle is long and thick, often red.
Large, long oval to obovoid, yellowish green when ripe, with a light bloom. The skin is thin but tough. The pulp is hard, juicy and sweet, with a pronounced muscat taste.

Bud burst
Second half of September.
Approximately the middle of November.
Late, end of March (10 to 12 days later than Colombar).

*Grape Cultivars for Wine Production in South Africa - PG Goussard

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