Just Give Moscato a Chance. Please.
Poor, poor Moscato. This ancient grape, by no fault of its own, has somehow become the Monica Lewinsky of wines.
One too many rap songs has made it the grape juice adored by underage drinkers, and a wine too many sommeliers and wine sellers dismiss. Floral, low-alcohol and inexpensive, Moscato perhaps made itself too easy to love. I’m happy to announce I’m absolutely not one of them.
Sadly, like poor Monica’s life, the trail back to a happy and successful legacy is taking decades.
The Moscato grape, often called Muscat, has been cultivated in Italy (especially Northern Italy) for ages. It’s a hardy, fruity, ow-acid grape that’s now popular in cool climates from Alsace to Australia, with many homes in US vineyards as well.
It’s prone to being made or blended into dessert wines, where it offers apple juice-esque flavors with hints of citrus. Thanks to its historic producers in Italy, it also tends to be spritzy, with distinctive, though less powerful, bubbles than in Champagne and other fully sparkling wines.
Like Monica trying to get ahead, Moscato was looking for a new niche in the 21st century as bubbly wines starting taking up more and more American market share.
Despite the rap songs, bad labels, and occasional Moscato syrup out there masquerading as wine, it’s time to put Moscato on your radar. If you haven’t tried it, or if you have and subsequently dismissed it as sorority girl swill, Moscato deserves another chance. Especially Moscato d’Asti.
Unlike engaging in an illicit affair, you can brag all day about drinking Moscato d’Asti. As a bonus, you’ll still finish the day standing up and with a clear conscience. That’s because Moscato d’Asti is low alcohol–roughly 7% ABV or less–and its distinctive sparkle makes it an easy wine to chug enjoy with an array of food or none at all.
All wines labeled as “Moscato d’Asti” come from the small Asti subregion of Pidemont and are subject to winemaking regulations. For drinkers, that’s good news because these reuls mean the wines are all relatively similar. Slight sweet and delightfully spritzy, these Italian whites combine lively citrus and apple flavors in a combination that’s easy to chug, and won’t lead to trials or calls to “Impeach Him.”
Because it’s off-dry, Moscato pairs beautifully with fruity desserts like strawberry shortcake, but it’s also underrated vino alongside rich cheeses, salty charcuterie, and holiday nibbles of all kinds.
It only takes $15 to give great Moscato D’Asti a chance, so you should do it.
Moscato d’Asti Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti, which bursts with flavors of candied orange and lemon.
Ceretto Moscato d’Asti, arguably one of the most complex Moscato wines I’ve ever had, which combines nectarine, pear, orange and hints of nutty spice.
Off-dry wines with cheeses like cheddar, brie, and all blues.
Fun Facts: Moscato d’Asti has been produced since the Middle Ages.
Unlike many wine grapes, Moscato is often made into raisins and eaten as a table grape.