What is Moscato Wine?
Moscato wine itself is a classic sweet white wine traditionally made in the Piedmont region of Italy. On your next visit to the wine store or local grocery stores, you will find several styles of this lively wine made from Muscat grapes. A glass of Moscato has a low alcohol content which makes this a great party wine for any occasion, especially on hot summer days.
Italian Moscato comes either as a sparkling, semi-sparkling, or still wine. Asti Spumante translates to sparkling wine while d’Asti is the Italian word for Semi.
Moscato d’Asti wines, which is among the most common Moscato wine found have a light sparkling fizz and mild sweetness to them. With flavors of nectarine, orange blossom, and honeysuckle, this wine lends itself to many styles of food from appetizers to desserts.
This Moscato uses the same white muscat grape with the addition of a little merlot or zinfandel to add some deeper flavors. Expect to get more ripe fruit flavors such as strawberry and raspberry overlaying the distinctive honeysuckle flavor.
The red Moscato is not your typical red wine and is as far from a Cabernet Sauvignon as you can get while still being a red wine. The black muscat grape is the star for making this sweet wine giving it a slightly deeper ripe berry flavor and a high acidity compared to the white Moscato. In the United States, we are seeing more Red Moscato from producers like Barefoot and Sutter Home.
How should Moscato Wine be Served?
All Moscato wine styles should be served chilled. So keep them in your refrigerator and by the time you pour yourself a glass of wine it will have warmed up to its perfect temperature.
Moscato Wine Pairings
The versatility of Moscato is pretty unique to the wine world. Most wines need specific conditions to make a great pairing. For Moscato, a great pairing needs to have food with bold flavors. This is not the wine for delicate foods. Anytime you are pairing food with wine you want to think of both complimentary flavors and opposite flavor profiles. How well will a flavor weave itself into the wine, making either the wine or the dish more complex? Or how can you use this fruity wine to contrast the rich taste of your meal? Crumble salty almonds over your cheesecake with fresh fruit. Make more creamy pasta dishes rather than red or butter-based sauces.
When I think of a savory main course for a Moscato wine pairing, I want something with a bit of spice and saltiness to balance the sweetness. I enjoy spicy food like Korean fried chicken tossed with spicy red chiles or spicy Indian curries over basmati rice with Moscato. BBQ pork is another possible pairing, especially when served with blue cheese and bacon mac n cheese. Even a simple bruschetta finished with Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzled with a light balsamic glaze will work wonders with the sweet fruit aroma of this wine. So spicy dishes and salty foods are all you need to remember, and this crowd favorite is a perfect wine for your next backyard barbecue.
Sweet Treats and Moscato
As a dessert wine, you want creamy desserts like cheesecake topped with fresh fruit or a vanilla bean creme brûlée. You don’t want your dessert to be too sweet though as it will combine with the intense sweetness of Moscato and become overpowering. So when looking for food pairings for your sweet treats, make sure they are not too sweet to start with.
Cheese & Moscato Wine Pairings
If you want a few cheese pairings to enjoy with your wine then go with soft cheeses. A brie at room temperature topped with salted caramel pecans or camembert with apple butter is what I crave when enjoying Moscato. Both bring their unique element that will pair wonderfully with the sweetness of the wine. The sweetness also lends to excellent pairings to blue cheese and goat’s cheese.
In short, for an excellent pairing stay with bold and intense flavors while keeping the sweetness down. Enjoy your Moscato wine chilled and with friends.