Saturday, July 28, 2012

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise AOP. A Unique Wine.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
   Last updated July 2017
     

A 2004 bottle of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise AOP
    
The Muscat de Beaumes AOC/AOP is a sweet white wine with a light gold color when young, turning to a light amber as it ages.  You may be offered a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise as an aperitif, and then it will be served chilled like a sweet  Madeira wine, just below room temperature.

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise in the kitchen.
   
The Muscat de Beaumes de Venise will be in most chefs’ wine cupboards. The wine became very popular 50 years ago and has since remained an essential part of French cuisine. The wine may be part of the hors d’œuvre, the appetizer, the entrée, the first course or it may part of a sauce for the plat principal, the main course; it may also be flavoring the dessert, a pastry or a cake. The uses of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise in the kitchen are infinite.
     

A glass of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
    
Finding the village of Beaumes de Venise.
    
The small and ancient town of Beaumes de Venise that gave the wine its name is in the department of Vaucluse, in the region of Provence in the Alpes du Sud.  Beaumes de Venise is just 26 km, (16 miles) from Avignon and 9 km (5 miles) from Carpentras.
     

Copyright Google maps.
     

The village of Beaumes de Venise
Photograph courtesy of the Office de Tourisme de Beaumes de Venise.

The Muscat de Beaumes de Venise wine  on your menu:

Confiture de Pêche de Vigne au Muscat de Beaumes de Venise - Slowly cooked vine peaches flavored with the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.  N.B.: A confiture in French cuisine have a number of meanings; most often it will be a jam or fruit preserves.  However, in this case, which is, of course, a dessert offering, the confiture will be a compote.

Filet de Rouget Barbet aux olives et au Beaumes de Venise -  A filet of striped red mullet prepared with olives and flavored with the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.  Striped red mullets are often small fish so the dish offered here may be an entrée, the French appetizer.
  
Poulet Rôti aux Raisins Verts au Muscat de Beaumes de Venise – Chicken roasted with green grapes and flavored with the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
 
Risotto aux Champignons et au Muscat de Beaumes de Venise - Button mushroom risotto flavored with the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
 
Soupe  Glacée de Melon au Muscat de Beaumes de Venise – A cold melon soup flavored with Beaumes de Venise.
               
The Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is a Vin Doux Naturel

French Vin Doux Naturels, VDNs, are produced in a similar manner to Sherry, Port, Madeira and Marsala wines. The term vin doux naturel translates as naturally sweet wine, so for this and all other VDN wines, no sugar is added.   The wine’s fermentation is stopped by the addition of alcohol, usually brandy.  With the fermentation stopped the residual sugar is left and that produces wines that are naturally sweet with a relatively high alcohol content. The Muscat de Beaumes de Venise  has a unique muscat aroma and taste; that along with a 15% alcohol content has made it one of the most famous muscat wines in the world.
 
The town of Beaumes de Venise
       
Walk through the town and you will find the center includes late medieval narrow streets with a 15th-century church, though the church was mostly rebuilt in the 19th century. Beaumes de Venise has also always been the market center for villages and farms around and is a delightful place to visit as there are fetes and celebrations throughout the year.

Fête de la Vigne et du Vin – The fete of the vine and the grape.

On the last Saturday in May, every year, Beaumes de Venise has their Fête de la Vigne et du Vin, a fete honoring the vines and the wines. Visitors coming on that day may taste all the wines from the area and enjoy many other local products for a small contribution to the local economy.  Apart from wines Beaumes de Venise is a trading town and busy all year round with the sale of local and other products and produce. Fetes de Brocante, antique and flea markets, are one-day fairs held here three times a year in March, August, and September. Dates are available from the Tourist Information Office website noted further down this post.
    
Fete de Brocante - Antique/flea market at Beaumes de Venise.
    
The history of Beaumes de Venise
  
The town is set below the narrow mountain range called the Dentelles de Montmirail, the teeth of Montmirail.  The mountains create a microclimate protecting the vineyards from strong winds and wide temperature changes.  The immediate area around Beaumes de Venise has been inhabited for thousands of years and the word Beaumes means a cave or grotto.  Below the Dentelles de Montmirail a hill leads to red sandstones caves which were inhabited in the stone age.
  
The Dentelles de Montmirail above Beaumes de Venise.
The teeth of Montmirail.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/77226901@N02/9343531346/

The Greeks came to Southern France about 2,600 years ago and they brought the first wine grapes grown to this area. A few hundred years later, around 100 BCE, the Romans came to France and when they arrived in Beaumes de Venise, they found wonderful vineyards with excellent wines waiting for them.
    

If you live in Beaumes de Venise, you will live on a hill.
  
Other AOC/AOP wines from the village's vineyards
and AOC/AOP wines from villages close by.
   
The vineyards for the Beaumes de Venise wine are interspersed with other vineyards that produce the Beaumes de Venise Rouge AOC, an excellent dry red wine, and Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages AOP wines. The Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages AOP come in reds, whites, rosés and I found their Côtes-du-Rhône-Village rosé particularly satisfying.  Only the thought of the airline overweight charges prevented me from buying a case. The microclimate, which results in these beautiful wines covers the nearby villages of Vacqueyras and Gigondas which produce the Vacqueyras AOP red, white and rosé wines and the Gigondas AOP red and rosés.
     

Relax and paint the beauty surrounding Beaumes de Venise
  
The Beaumes de Venise Tourist Information Office
  
The town’s Tourist Information Office has a French Language website and they promise that the English site will soon be working; however, that promise has been repeated for the last five years! In the meantime, the site may be clearly understood with the Google and Microsoft Translate apps at:

  

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Bryan G. Newman

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