What is Moscato Wine?
Moscato is the Italian name for the Muscat family of grapes. Muscat grapes are numerous; the most notable varietals include Moscato Giallo, Muscat of Alexandria, Orange Muscat as well as Red, White and Brown Frontignan varietals. Muscat varietals are one of the worlds most commonly grown grapes. They are not only used in the production of wine but also for the production of raisins.
Moscato refers to the Italian style of using Moscato Giallo, creating a lightly sparkling wine that adheres to strict alcohol content and production techniques. Generally served as a dessert style, though can be used as an aperitif. In Australia, the Moscato name is used for lighter, sweeter wines that have lower alcohol content.
Common Moscato Wine characteristics
Though sometimes regarded as an overly sweet wine, Moscato has the sweetness of fruit rather than that of lollies. Pretty, floral characters abound with rose petal and rose water dominating the nose. Turkish delight is often present as well as wild strawberries on occasion. Moscato wines are characterised by 5-10% alcohol in Australia, making them a lighter-bodied option. Moscato varietal wines are also characterised with very fine, light bubbles also known as the ‘bead.’
Pairing food with Moscato Wine
Great with light desserts and fruit platters, citrus based sweets and sorbet. Moscato is the Italian word for Muscat, an ancient group of grape varietals of various colours and characteristics. Asti is sweet but is acidic enough for pairing with salads and spicy Asian food.
Notable Moscato Wine regions
Asti or Asti Spumante is a sparkling Moscato from the Asti region of Italy. It is made only using Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grapes also known as Muscato Bianco. Moscato d'Asti is a classic wine, characterised by delightful floral aromas and subtle hints of peach, apricot and fresh grape juice. It has been Italy's most famous and most popular wines for some time.
In Australia, winemakers in the Margaret River and Great Southern regions of Western Australia Alkoomi and Evans & Tate produce a range of Moscato. Victorian winemakers such Wirra Wirra and Chapel Hill produce excellent examples of Australian Moscato as do Serafino, Pirramimma and Two Hands as well as Yalumba and Angove.
Other winemakers producing Moscato wines from varietals from vineyards across Australia include Brookhill, Rothbury and Brown Brothers as well as McWilliam’s and Banrock Station and bit hitters such as Grant Burge, Lindeman’s, McGuigan and Stefano de Pieri.
The benchmark producers of Australian Moscato can be found on opposite sides of the country. Stella Bella in the Margaret River region of Western Australia produces a frizzante or slight sparkling pink Moscato full of Turkish delight in the bouquet and on the nose. Like Asti, it is made only from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grapes otherwise known as Moscato Bianco.
On the east coast of Australia, Tempus Two, from their Hunter Valley winery in New South Wales, produce their Two Copper Moscato. Tempus Two produce their Two Copper Moscato with Moscato Bianco only, in true Moscato d'Asti style.
The future of Moscato Wine
There is growing popular for Moscato, Asti Spumante in particular, in America. US winemakers are engaging celebrities to develop Moscato wines. As Australian and Californian wine market trends often inform each other, the opportunities for winemakers to drive a greater uptake of Australian Moscato both domestically and internationally are vast.
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