The sweetest, most versatile wine grape on the planet.
If you’ve walked the wine aisles at the supermarket or wine store, you’ve undoubtedly seen bottles with the name Moscato written on them. After all, this is one of the most popular grapes on earth.
Despite the wine’s popularity, there’s a lot most people don’t know about the noble grape. Moscato can take many shapes and become a wide variety of wine styles. And learning about it is vital to enjoying the delicious grape to its fullest.
Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Moscato. The most popular questions about the wine grape answered. Let’s give Moscato some love!
What is Moscato, anyway?
Above all things, Moscato is a wine grape, or better said, a family of grapes. Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Ottonel and Muscat Hamburg are the most noteworthy members of such a reputable family, and they’re all some of the most ancient grapes in wine history!
Muscat or Moscato grapes are native to the Mediterranean Basin, they’re widely used in Spain, France, Greece and Italy to make many types of wine, from sweet dessert wine to fizzy, sparkling wine. It’s been this way for centuries!
It comes without saying Moscato has found its way to wine-producing countries of the New World, too, including the USA, South Africa and Australia. Moscato is a world phenomenon!
How Does Moscato Taste Like?
Wine made with Moscato is easy to love. Not only does the wine often displays a lovely sweetness, but it also offers a complex nose.
Moscato’s scents are reminiscent of white flowers, orange peels, ripe peaches and a unique grapey character. Despite the sweet nose, the wine can be dry, subtly sweet or lusciously sweet. It can be slightly fizzy, too, or a formal sparkling wine.
Moscato always provides a refreshing, citrusy acidity, and the wine unfolds to reward you with a long fruit-scented finish. For a type of wine that often falls on the inexpensive side, Moscato is incredibly rewarding!
Italian or American Moscato?
Although grape growers cultivate Moscato in almost every wine-producing country on earth, there’s no doubt two countries dominate the popularity charts, the USA and Italy. Here’s how the wine styles differ.
Italian Moscato can take many forms. The most popular is Moscato di Asti, a sweet frizzante specialty of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy. The bubbly wine is delightful and festive. When labeled just as Asti, expect an equally sweet wine, but with more carbonation — this is a proper sparkling wine, not dissimilar to sweet Prosecco.
American Moscato is often a still wine, usually produced with wine grapes from California’s Central Valley. This amusing wine style is exquisite, and it’s often more inexpensive than the Italian counterparts. There’s also pink Moscato, and it can be still or bubbly. It’s made with reddish Moscato grapes.
This is just a drop in the bucket!
There are dozens of Moscato wine styles, from mouth-watering dry renditions to highly alcoholic and sweet fortified wines. With such an extraordinary grape, the sky’s the limit! It’s easy to see why winemakers have been having fun with the grape for millennia.
Where to start? Pick a bottle of Moscato; it doesn’t matter where it comes from or if it’s a still wine or a bubbly version. Try as many types of Moscato as you can find, and you’ll soon become an authentic connoisseur. Moscato is noble like that; it’s just a great wine grape to explore!