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Fresh Spanish Grapes – Before the Crush!

Moscatel 1

Just a quick note to mention one of my favorite times of the year has arrived! The grapes are starting to ripen, and while I’m sure some vineyards already have their harvest underway if not finished, Catalunya has just begun to start theirs.

Consequently, one of my favorite treats during the Harvest Season are the fresh grapes that make it past the crush pad and into the markets. I just returned from a jaunt down to the local fruit stand to pick up some salad fixings, and lo and behold, I came across fresh Moscatel grapes. Yesterday the stands were bare of anything resembling this sweet juicy tidbit, but today, the shelves are overflowing! I couldn’t be happier. Personally, I’ve never been a dessert guy, always feeling as if they contain too much sugar and not enough flavor. However, I’ve learned with time that what I didn’t like was the lack of complexity and life that most desserts fail to contain. Instead, they error to one flavor, sweet! Oh, then people feel as if there isn’t enough of this, so they add a dollop of something more sweet on top. UGH!

Today, I am happily popping fresh winemaking grapes into my mouth. They come mainly from over production or low quality, meaning too little sugar and you find them all over this time of the year! Usually a grape will create a wine with flavors distinct from itself, expressing new and exciting complexity and depth. However, the one grape that doesn’t do this is Moscatel. If you taste one or drink one, you quickly realize they are one in the same. Most table grapes are unable to produce good wine because they aren’t sweet enough; but these little buggers – though most likely below the necessary level to make wine – are sweet juicy goodness. A plate of Moscatel grapes after a meal, before a meal, or while at your desk blogging away, will put a big toothy smile on your face!

My plates running low; hence, I need to head back to the kitchen for more.

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz