Muscat de Rivesaltes is an appellation for the vins doux naturels from a relatively large area of Roussillon in southern France, covering a total of 99 communes and most of the Pyrenees-Orientales administrative department. It is the largest single sweet-wine appellation in France (along with the Rivesaltes title, which covers the same area).
Muscat de Rivesaltes wines are made predominantly from Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains and Muscat d'Alexandrie in varying ratios, according to the style desired by the individual producer. Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains is used to bring aromas of exotic and citrus fruits, while Muscat d'Alexandrie brings a deeper bouquet of white flowers and ripe stone fruit. Collectively, the wines show aromas of peach, lemon and mango, plus occasionally fresher, herbaceous notes such as mint. These all change with ageing (which takes place mostly in the bottle to preserve the fresher aromas) and the wines take on aromas of honey and baked stone fruits.
With their high levels of residual sugar, the wines are relatively viscous and are pale gold in color, sometimes tinged with green or gold.
The technique used to produce these wines is one of several employed for sweet wines. Unlike botrytized wines or ice wines, vins doux naturels are made by mutage, a process of stopping must fermenting while there is still a high level of natural sweetness.