If you're a fan of semi-dry and sweet white wines, Moscato might be your new favorite pick. This light-bodied, golden wine has notes of fruit and florals and makes a perfect choice to accompany brunch and other light meals. Whether you pair it with a favorite food or sip it as a delightful after-dinner drink, there's plenty to love about Moscato.
Moscato, or as it's officially known, Moscato d'Asti, is made using the Moscat grape, which comes from Piedmont, Italy. The Muscat grape is one of the oldest varieties, often used for fortified dessert wine, and it may date back to the time of the Ancient Greeks. However, Moscato wine has only recently seen a surge in popularity.
According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, this variety has become incredibly popular in recent years, due to influences ranging from popular culture to the changing public perception of sweet wines. Sales of Moscato increased 153% in 2010 alone. Wine Spectator reports that Moscato is now the third most popular white wine on the market today.
Flavor of Moscato
Lighter and milder than a Riesling, Moscato is often classified as a sweet wine, although it can actually range from semi-dry to sweet. According to the Wall Street Journal, it has sugar content in the neighborhood of six percent, while a traditional white table wine has about one percent sugar content. It's also a semi-sparkling wine, known as a frizzante.
As you sip Moscato, you'll notice the flavors of peaches and apricots in almost every variety. Many also feature the sweet undertones of citrus fruits, plums, apples, and pears.
One of the most striking qualities of Moscato is its aroma or bouquet. You'll notice the scent of sun-warmed flowers like orange blossom, as well as citrus fruits and peaches and raspberry preserves. In addition, there are spicy undertones to this wine's aroma, especially the scent of ginger.
Color of Moscato
Moscato is often a warm, rich yellow, frequently described as the color of straw. Some brands also offer a pink Moscato, which is a very pale rosy color.
Alcohol Content of Moscato
Typically, Moscato has a lower alcohol content than many other wines. Expect this type of wine to range from about four percent to 10% alcohol. Most are about seven to nine percent. This contributes to it's light flavor.
Moscato Food Pairings
Always serve Moscato chilled, since this white wine has the best flavor at a cold temperature. It works well with brunch, as an aperitif, and as a dessert wine.
The light foods and mix of flavors that typify brunch make this the perfect meal for Moscato. Consider serving it with some of the following foods:
- Baked goods
- Light cakes with fruit flavors
- Mixed fruit dishes
- Pancakes and waffles
- Light egg dishes
Moscato makes an excellent choice as an aperitif, or before-dinner drink. Serve it with these hors d'oeuvres:
- Cheeses, especially havarti, gruyere, mild chevre, and brie
- Crab-based hors d'oeuvres, like mild crab cakes
- Stuffed dates
- Charcuterie platters
Moscato is in its element as a dessert wine. Try it with one of the following:
- Fruit tarts and pies
- Fruit-based cakes
- Almond cakes and pastries
- Peach cobbler or crisp
- Fresh berries and shortcakes
Moscato Wines to Try
Often very inexpensive, Moscato is a great wine to try from several different vineyards. Each will be slightly different in terms of sugar content, fruit tones, and alcohol content, so sampling several is a great way to find your new favorite. You can easily find many options priced below $15 per bottle.
Choose a Moscato from a very recent year, since this wine is best consumed while it's still young. Try one of these popular choices.
Barefoot Moscato is the most popular Moscato brand sold in the United States, according to Wine Spectator. This affordable variety, which sells for about seven dollars per bottle, has notes of peaches, apricots, and citrus. You'll find it in any wine store.
Sutter Home Moscato
Sutter Home Moscato is another very popular choice. According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Moscato was the first wine Sutter Home produced more than 50 years ago. In that time, they've mastered the art, and their offering has notes of peaches and cream. You can find it at any wine shop for about seven dollars per bottle.
Elio Perrone Moscato
Slightly drier than other brands, the Elio Perrone Moscato is a favorite with wine enthusiasts. It has a soft, creamy taste with vivid flavors of fruit. You can purchase it online or ask for it at your local wine shop. This brand retails for about $12 per bottle.
Cameron Hughes Moscato
Noted for its crisper flavor, Cameron Hughes Moscato isn't quite a sweet as some other varieties. It carries the flavor of lychee fruit and peaches and has a very clean, bright finish. You can find it in your local wine shop for about $10 per bottle.
Light, Crisp, and Lovely
Whether you're looking for a great sipping wine or need something to accompany a fruit dessert, Moscato is a great choice. There's a reason for the recent popularity of the sweeter wine; it's light, crisp, and lovely with a variety of foods.