The Italian name “moscato,” which relates to the muscat grape family, is widely used to describe a mildly sparkling, low-alcohol sweet white wine. Moscato d’Asti, which has notes of citrus, stone fruit, and orange flower, is a crowd favourite among both novice and experienced wine drinkers. Muscat grapes are planted and used to make wine all over the world, despite the fact that true moscato d’Asti and Asti spumante (two well-known varieties of moscato wine) can only be produced in Piedmont, Italy.
- Regions: Piedmont, Trentino-Alto Adige, Pantelleria, California, Australia, Spain, Germany
- Source: Piedmont, Italy
- Sweetness: Very sweet to semi-sweet
- Color: Light yellow to light red
- Alcohol by volume: 5–13%
Taste and Flavor Profile
The majority of moscato wines on the market are produced in the moscato d’Asti style. The frizzante (semi-sparkling) wine is distinguished by its perfume-like aroma, light body, low alcohol concentration, and brilliant fruit-forward flavor with a comforting sweet element. Moscato has a variety of naturally occurring aromatics, including orange flower, honeysuckle, almonds, and ginger, as well as intensely flavorful fruit flavours like green grapes, lemon, and ripe peaches. It’s a cool accompaniment to brunch, a warm summer day, or even dessert because of its exquisite cascade of bubbles, light texture, and sweetness.
The muscat family includes red wine grapes even though the white wine has little tannin. Black muscat can be used to create a red moscato with berries and flowery aromas, however this is not a very typical combination. The majority of moscato wines are white and have different amounts of sweetness, acidity, and bubbles.
Variety of Grapes & Wine
Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria are the two most popular of the more than 200 known types of muscat grapes. White, gold, red, pink, brown, and black are just a few of the many colours that muscat grapes can be. The primary Moscato grape grown in Italy is the golden-yellow Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (also known as Moscato Bianco), which is well fitted for making wine. Zibbibo, a less refined variety of Muscat of Alexandria, is typically farmed for raisins and table grapes but is also used to make wine.
While moscato is a popular white wine, it is actually the Italian word for a whole family of grapes. Muscat grapes can be used to make wines that are still, sparkling, white, red, sweet, or fortified. These grapes are used to produce the well-known DOCG-certified moscato d’Asti and Asti spumante (or simply Asti). DOCG is an abbreviation for “Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita,” which translates as “controlled and guaranteed designation of origin.” It denotes that the wine was produced in a particular region in accordance with strict quality standards.
In just Italy, moscato wine is produced in a variety of styles, including:
o Moscato d’Asti: A low-alcohol, slightly sweet, moderately sparkling (frizzante) white wine (about 5.5 percent)
o Asti: A sparkling white wine with an alcohol content of around 9%, also referred to as Asti spumante.
o Moscato di Pantelleria: Amber wine produced on the island of Pantelleria; Passito is the name of a sweet variation prepared with dried grapes.
o Moscato Rosa: An Italian sweet red wine with berry and spice flavours from the Trentino-Alto Adige region.
American moscato wines can include:
- White moscato: Similar to moscato d’Asti (still or sparkling)
- Pink moscato: A white moscato with a little touch of red wine mixed in
- Red moscato: Similar to pink moscato but with additional red wine added
- Sparkling moscato: Similar to Asti spumante
Moscato d’Asti and Asti are very well suited for combining with spicy meals because of their sweetness and low alcohol content. Serve your meal with hot Cajun-style chicken wings, Thai crab curry, or Sichuan beef. You can also balance out the sweetness of moscato with salty nibbles like cured meats, almonds, or blue cheese.
It’s possible to use moscato to emphasize a sweet meal as opposed to balancing a hot or salty one. With apple, meringue, and hazelnut sweets as well as breakfast items like pancakes and coffee cake, the sweet white wine is a delectable pairing. When offering a light lunch, moscato is frequently sweet enough to stand in for dessert.
Pour moscato into a tumbler or a white wine glass. Serve sparkling moscato, frizzante, and moscato still at a temperature of not more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Store fortified sweet moscato at room temp (60 to 70 degrees). Smaller servings of roughly three ounces should be used for fortified wines.
Key Producers & Brands
Moscatos are widely available in supermarkets, wine shops, and liquor stores, as well as online. The following are some well-known Moscato wine brands:
- Charles Smith Wines
- G.D. Vajra
- Michele Chiarlo
- Casa Perini