Question from Richard: What is Moscato? Some friends served it to me and said it’s really popular but I thought it was awful!
Reply: Richard’s friends are right. According to Market Watch, moscato is the fastest-growing wine variety in the US right now.
Moscato is the Italian word for Muscat (but not Muscadine). With its beautiful perfume of apricot, orange blossom and tropical fruit the muscat grape lends itself to making sweet wine. But sweet wines don’t have to be bad. You can find delicious examples of Moscato or Muscat that absolutely seduce your nose and please your palate because the sweetness is balanced by refreshing acidity – and sometimes it bubbles.
The classic example, Italian Moscato d’Asti is fruity, floral and softly fizzy. It’s light as air at around five or six percent alcohol and can be lovely.
Muscat from southern France, the Beaumes de Venise, is heavier because it’s high in alcohol. The best are sweet and yummy after a nice meal.
A handful of wineries here in the Napa Valley produce delicious Muscat wines. Try the Moscato d’Oro next time you’re at Robert Mondavi winery. Or try ZD’s Muscat Canelli.
But these aren’t the ones flying off the shelf right now. New-world brands like Barefoot, Sutter Home, Woodbridge and Yellow Tail are the ones that really move. They’re sweet and evidently they don’t fizz. It sounds like you had a bad example or maybe you just don’t like Muscat. Continue reading