Do you love Moscato wine but don’t know which variety goes well with what? We’ll share tips and tricks to help you nail your Moscato game and identify the good stuff. Ready to be known as the wine connoisseur among your friends and family? Let’s get started!
What is Mosacto Wine?
From the undemanding effervescence, fresh and alluring scent, grapes, peaches, orange blossom, and elderflower; nothing can stop you from pouring another glass of Moscato wine. Here are some reasons Moscato could be your next favorite drink.
Reasons to love Moscato
Moscato is an Italian wine from the Asti province. No wonder it is referred to as Muscato d’Asti. It is the finest white wine, a ferment of Moscato Bianco grape, with a sweet taste and low alcohol content. Asti region is known for the most excellent wines, both white and red. And that is why most of the wines produced in the area come with the name Asti.
Muscato Bianco grapes are the fruits responsible for the flavor in Muscato d’Asti. The small-sized grapes are from the Muscat family and are used to produce white wine. Their berries form tight clusters hence their name. You will find them being sold all over the world from South Africa, Italy, France, Greece, and Australia. However, wines from various regions have different textures.
But do not confuse Moscato d’Asti with Asti wine. While both are made from Moscato Bianco grapes, their alcohol content is not the same due to a difference in grape quality. Moscato d’Asti has 4.5% – 6.5% alcohol while the Asti wine is 7% – 9% alcoholic. For this reason, Moscato d’Asti wine is sweeter than the Asti wine. Moreover, it has a soft sparkle, making it creamier and richer. Make sure to store your wine correctly on a rack to get the most value and flavor out of it.
The word Moscato evokes some mixed reactions among people. Some people turn and scoff their noses when they smell this wine while others make a toast. There are those who ultimately don’t understand it. Nevertheless, Moscato is loved by many from college girls, models, and celebs. Find out why you too should love it.
- You don’t need to take it too seriously
Muscato is categorized among highest-quality wines. But this doesn’t mean that you have to take it too seriously. You can safely enjoy the wine as frivolity. Feel free to incorporate it into your breakfast if you had a crazy night. The fresh and smooth bubbles along with unmatched sweetness with revitalize your moods and energize you back to life. While the wine isn’t to be taken seriously, its flavors are quite serious. Forget about the common myths you’ve hears and give it a shot. To celebrate your freedom from unneeded societal expectations, you can drink your Moscato from a glass with a message. As the Waswahili people, and one of my favorite cartoon characters as a child, say: No trouble – Hakuna matata! Check them out here.
- Great value for your money
When it comes to the availability and affordability of Muscato wine, it is hard to beat. Its alcohol content (4.5% – 6.5%) is relatively low, so it escapes most of the tax duties. The wine is never scarce hence it’s always affordable.
- Food friendly wine
If you need Moscato for breakfast and lunch, look for the bubbly and light-bodied varieties. The lightly sweet wines complement perfectly salty and spicy meals. On the other side, the fortified versions of Moscato go well with nut-based desserts and fruits. For instance, you could have Pavlova and citrus curd or pecan pie, or passion fruit pot de crème. Try dipping a biscotti cookie into your wine and enjoy the flavor.
- Grapey aroma
Are you looking for liqueur with the real taste of grapes? Try Muscato Blanc Petits Grains. This variety has the strongest grapey flavor you could ever taste. As a rule of thumb, always look for exuberant grapey tastes when shopping for Muscato. This quality signifies freshness, floral, and honeyed character. No matter what iteration you choose, this wine is ever aromatic. It reminisces fresh nectarines, candied lemon, oranges, grapes honeysuckle, musky spice, peaches, and Asian pears. But it is one of the few drinks that feature a grapey taste. The non-fortified versions have low alcohol content so you can enjoy extra glasses without getting drunk. If you want something distinctive, try splashing a little sweet lemonade to Moscato. The lemon flavor will reduce the sweetness but is dangerously delicious.
- Incredible versatility
Moscato is often associated with an overly sweet and genetically flavored sweetness, something that gives it a bad rap. What most people don’t know is that the wine is astonishingly versatile. Whether you prefer fortified dessert wine, dry whites, or light sparklers, there is always a Moscato waiting for you. This wine is an ideal substitute for aromatic varieties like Riesling and Pinot noir. If you are a fan of Lambrusco or Prosecco, you would love more Muscato d’Asti.
The reason Moscato d’Asti makes the best drink for desserts is that its alcohol content is relatively low. There are endless serving suggestions of the wine and a lot of meals you can share it with for instance lemon cake, white chocolate, raspberry dessert, cheesecake, and sherbets. There are many other food combinations you can pair with Moscato wine as long as you love this beverage. For a fortified dessert wine, try Muscat from southern France which is surprisingly fresh, lusciously sweet, and incredibly ripe. The other Muscato wines from Australia are created in the same way as Sherry, featuring brown hues and toasted flavors.
- Easy to alter to your taste
Moscato doesn’t need to be chilled to be good, but it can be. If you are drinking Moscato with a hot desert or something salty, you could benefit from drinking it chilled. It does change the taste a bit and usually makes it more refreshing and easier on the mouth, and if you combine a cooler with a tumbler glass, such is the one shown here, you will be able to find that perfect sweet-spot temperature that is just right for you.
- A wide variety of grape colors
Muscat mutates easily as it grows. That is why there are numerous grape colors on the market. They include orange, pinkish, pale white, deep red, bluish, and golden yellow. Orange Muscat produces white wine with a wonderful orange aroma. The Muscat vineyards, which are normally at an altitude between 200m to 500m, form a picturesque quilt, coinciding at unique angles just like bucolic heavens.
Background Information about Moscato Wine
Moscato as a genre is best known for its sweet flavors or peach and orange blossom. It gets its name from Muscat, the Italian name for Muscat Blanc, one of the oldest grape varieties in the world. Muscat grapes are one of the most ancient winemaking fruits, with documented uses in ancient Greece and Rome. Muscat’s long lineage has resulted in over 200 known varieties, creating endless variation in flavor and style.
How does Moscato taste?
Despite dizzying variety of Muscat, all Moscatos share a similar taste and balanced profile of lively and refreshing fruits. It’s light on the palate but a smorgasbord of fizzy fruity flavors upfront with a bubbly, floral finish.
- orange blossom
- Mandarin orange
- Very sweet
- Light bodied
- Medium acidity
- Low tannins
- Low alcohol (5.5% ABV)
Moscato’s greatest strength is its ability to deliver a fresh, fruity profile without slamming your guests with high alcohol.
How should I serve Moscato?
- Sparkling (40 degrees F)
- Still Moscato (45 degrees F)
- Still red (50 degrees F)
- Serve immediately, no decanting necessary
What goes well with Moscato?
Pairing wine with the right food is a quintessential art you should learn. If you’re unsure what Moscatos to buy for the occasion, you’re in the right place. Anytime you want an inexpensive, sweet, sparkling acidic wine to accompany your desserts or simply an aperitif, you can count on Moscato wines to deliver. Moscato’s sweetness balances out spicy foods like Thai and Indian cuisine. It also goes well with savory courses, cheeses, tapas, and desserts.
- Spicy foods
- Cured meats (Prosciutto, salami, etc. The high salt content balances Moscato’s sweetness)
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh vegetables
- Soft or pungent cheeses
- Fruity deserts
- Sweet breakfasts
- Cakes and pastries
Types of Moscato
“Moscato” refers to a wide variety of sweet white wines ranging from dessert, non-sparking, fully-sparkling, and “still” wines. They all feature characteristic sweetness that’s as fresh as it is light, and contain aromas inclined to peach, orange blossom, and floral notes. A number of Muscat grape varieties are used in production, but top-notch Italian wines are derived from Moscato di Canelli or Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains.
Sparkling and semi-sparkling Moscato
Moscato d’Asti and Asti Spumante are perfect examples of sparkling and semi-sparkling Moscatos. These Moscatos are aromatic and sweet with the perfect balance of acidity and bubbles, all washed down with a refreshing mineral finish.
As the name implies, “still” Moscatos aren’t sparkling. They’re made from Muscat Blanc grapes and other varieties, such as Muscat of Alexandria (grown in California). These are typically drier than sparkling Moscatos, but their aromatic floral accents still keep them fruity, light, and fresh.
These are typically a blend of Muscat grapes with a dollop of Merlot to imbue a ruby-pink hue. The added Merlot gives it a note of strawberry.
Red Moscato (or Black Muscat)
Made from a rarer Muscat variety, red Moscato has added notes of raspberry, rose, and violet. Red Moscato is made from an Italian grape variety and Muscat of Alexandria.
Moscato d’Asti not sweet enough? Dessert Moscato is about as sweet as it gets! Dessert Moscato’s sweetness is derived from partially dried grapes so as to concentrate their sweetness.
Some of our favorite Moscatos on a dime
Fish Eye Muscato comes in ”cardboardeaux” packages. They can be packaged in bottles, but the wine box is more widely used. The box holds an equivalent of 4 bottle wines, and is ideal for occasions that don’t lend themselves to a glass bottle (think rowdy family reunions and block parties). Fish Eye Moscato boxes are the perfect companion to a summer day at the beach with friends.
This is by far the best fully-sparkling Moscato. Flip Flop sparkling Moscato hails from Asti, Piedmont, in Northern Italy. All wines from this region are labeled as Moscato d’Asti, and most bear the coveted DOCG designation. In the making of Flip Flop Moscato, the fermentation process is halted when the level of alcohol hits 5.5%. It has a natural frizzy appeal, the result of carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process. Some CO2 disappears into the air and the rest is retained in the wine. Winemakers filter the drink to eliminate yeast to prevent further fermentation after packaging.
Bartenura is a light-bodied, dulcet Moscato with low alcohol content (5% ABV), making it a consummate dessert wine. Bartenura is very frizzy with a texture not unlike champagne, making it a perfect choice for celebratory events. For the best experience, enjoy Bartenura with cheese, fruits, and any dessert. If you don’t find it in the local wine store, it can be had online for about $14. Bartenura, like other Moscatos, is best enjoyed in a tumbler glass.
Cupcake is probably one of the best-known and loved Moscato di Astis out there. It’s available in almost any grocer or wine store. Don’t let it’s affordability fool you; this is an excellent sparkling Moscato! As its name and packaging imply, it’s created with celebration in mind, and the perfect bubbly Moscato for any occasion.
If a ‘flat’ wine suits your bill, Yellow Tail Moscato is where it’s at. The Australian-based company is beloved for affordable yet tasty wines, and their lovely rendition of Moscato is no exception. Yellow Tail Moscato is vibrant, bubbly, and full of flavor, and is best enjoyed in a champagne glass or stemless wine tumbler.
Moscato in popular culture
Moscato is the go-to drink for many socialites and pop culture icons. It’s inspired iconic musicians like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake. What’s more, it is low in alcohol and affordable, lending itself to all-evening sipping without the buzz (and price tag) associated with stronger wines and liquors. Italy, the birthplace of Moscato, can’t keep up with growing demand, with places like California, France, Chile, and Australia picking up the slack. In a bid to increase the volume, major winemakers are blending other white grapes with Muscat.
Don’t be Confused
If you are seeking the best and most complex food-friendly Moscato, stick to Italy’s Moscato d’Asti. But don’t confuse this label with Asti Spumante, a sparkling wine similar to Moscato d’Asti but with higher alcohol content. Moscato d’Asti is produced from the best and ripest grapes by small winemakers famous for red wines, such as Barbarescos and Barolos. Asti Spumante is usually more run-of-the-mill, with grapes and production methods sub-par to the standards of Moscato d’Asti.
Some of the greatest producers of Moscato d’Asti wine include La Spinetta, Bera Vittorio, Saracco, Marchesi di Grésy, Ceretto, Boro Margliano, Vietti, and Fratelli Barale. Their wines are not easy to come by but some are readily available at local wine stores with prices ranging from $12 – $20. If you live in California, try La Sirena Moscato Azul by Heidi Barrett. It is derived from Canelli grapes, full of flavor, and fairly dry. Avoid Moscatos by giant winemakers such as Constellation Brands, Wine Group, Casella Wines, and Gallo.
Exploring new drinks is a fun experience particularly when you have a better understanding of your favorite flavors. However, finding a sweet wine is not that easy. There is nothing so disheartening like struggling to finish a glass of wine that is way off your taste preference. While Moscato is a famous sweet wine, it is not isolated as far as the fruity flavor goes. Therefore, if you are determined to get a bottle of wine to fall for, you should try one of the Moscato varieties. They are perfect for dinner parties and common get-togethers.