I like to think of moscato as the ballerina of sweet wines. It's beautifully floral with delicate bubbles and subtly sweet with bright acidity. Moscato's balanced complexity and nuanced fruit and floral notes make it the perfect match for young alpine cow's cheeses, salty cured meats like Jamón Ibérico, or spicy dishes like hot chicken wings or Thai curries. In order to find a high quality moscato from Italy or elsewhere, you need to look beyond the grocery store aisles. Search out any of the following bottles for a light and luscious glass of bubbles.
1. De Forville Moscato d'Asti
A beautiful expression of the Asti terroir, De Forville moscato d'Asti is pale golden with aromas of lemon and lime peel along with orchard fruits of peach and ripe apricot. A touch sweet with balanced acidity, this natural sparkling wine pairs beautifully with a post-dinner fruit tart. Your budget won't even feel the meager $20 price tag.
2. Carussin 'Filari Corti'
From the biodynamic vineyards of Carussin in San Marzano Oliveto, Italy, this traditional moscato d'Asti is the color of sun-dried straw with aromas of green apple, wild mint, chamomile tea, and elderflower. With structure and vibrancy, this natural wine will leave you redefining what you thought moscato was. It's a true gem sipped solo on the first warm day of spring. Grab a bottle for under $20 to be ready at the first sunbeam.
3. Vietti Moscato d'Asti Cascinetta Vietti
From the rolling vineyards of Castiglione Tinella, Vietti makes a timeless moscato d'Asti that will undoubtedly do the trick. Slightly effervescent with bright aromas of peach, ginger, and rose, this is mildly sweet with rounded character. Vietti is widely distributed in the U.S, and this moscato can easily be found in bottle shop or at an online retailer for just over $15.
4. Gönc Winery Yellow Muscat Štajerska
This number is from the small town of Ptuj in Slovenia. Peter Gönc organically farms his vineyard, which produces expressive, off-dry muscat. The soils here give this wine a beautiful minerality which adds depth to classic orchard fruit notes. Wispy aromas of honeysuckle and white blossom lead into fruit flavors of juicy peach, apricot, citrus, and lychee. This has a full, creamy character attributed to the malolactic fermentation, and it finishes drier than others. Grab a bottle for around $18.
5. La Spinetta Bricco Quaglia Moscato d'Asti
Bricco Quaglia moscato d'Asti was one of the first single-cru moscatos to be produced in Italy. This vivacious and complex bottle of bubbles is full of orchard fruit aromas and orange blossom. A hint of savory dried herb garden adds complexity to this sweet wine. Curious? It's well worth the investment at under $20, and it has a clean, crisp finish attributed to the calcareous soils. It's a perfect pairing for an after-dinner cheese plate of Gorgonzola and pear or a slice of panettone.
6. Elio Perrone Sourgal Moscato d'Asti
The vivid, golden-hued Elio Perrone Sourgal moscato smells like you are walking through an orchard blooming on a sunny spring day. Full of yellow peach, apple blossom, and orange flower, with a hint of sage honey, its sweetness is balanced by good acidity and topped off with subtle fizz. Indulge yourself with a bottle for $19, and try pairing it with a rhubarb tart or elderflower panna cotta.
7. Bera Vittorio e Figli Canelli Moscato d'Asti
Bera Vittorio e Figli Canelli is a true artisan moscato. Forty-year-old vines make up the estate in Sant'Antonio di Canelli, which lies within the most prestigious growing area for moscato in Italy. Organically farmed, hand-picked, and fermented with native yeast, winemaker Gianluigi coerces an elegant expression from the grapes. With notes of ripe pear, juicy peach, field honey, and elderflower, this richly textured wine is complex with soft bubbles. This is a gem to be savored, and it only costs around $20.
8. Poderi Cellario Moscato
Third-generation winemakers, Fausto and Cinzia Cellario, are committed to producing sustainable wines made with indigenous Piemontese grapes in the small town of Carru, Italy. The Poderi Cellario moscato is hand-harvested, fermented in stainless steel, and bottled using the Charmat method. A true expression of the terroir, it is full of juicy orchard fruit notes with a hint of savory wild herbs and a clean minerality. This under-$20 wine is an amazing match for a spicy chicken sandwich loaded with buttermilk sauce and pickled red onions on a sesame bun.
9. Marchesi di Gresy La Serra Moscato d'Asti
Fruity and bright with notes of apricot, white peach, pineapple, and citrus peel, the Marchesi di Gresy La Serra moscato has elegant, soft bubbles and medium acidity. There is a fullness to this wine, reminiscent of a bowl of summer peaches and cream. Convinced? Grab yourself a bottle for around $20 and pour a glass of this easy-drinking moscato with a clean finish.
10. Cascina del Santuario Moscato d'Asti
Tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple pair with juicy apricot and peach nectar in this delicately fizzy moscato d'Asti. This is a light-hearted wine with balanced acidity. Mimicking the tropical fruit notes here with a picnic of gochujang chicken and roasted pineapple couldn't feel more right. It costs under $15, so don't forget to grab a bottle when you run to the store.
Moscato: Nectar of the Gods and Satisfier of the Sweet Tooth
A good bottle of moscato is incredibly versatile. It can be paired with an apéritif, dinner, dessert, or sipped on its own. The fruit-forward aromas with hints of spring blossom and elegant bubbles dance across your palate in the best of ways.