Whether you are dining, relaxing, or celebrating, a bottle of wine sounds like a great companion. One of the wines you should consider is the Moscato Wine. What’s this wine about and what makes it special?
Getting To Know The Moscato Wine
If you are looking for sweet wine, one of the best options is the Moscato Wine. The grapes which this wine is derived from are believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Apart from being one of the old guards, the Muscat grape family is also the largest with about 200 varieties.
There are many stories about the origin of the Muscat grape. Some say it’s from the Persians. Others say it’s from either Egyptians or Greeks. Regardless of where this grape originated, it has become one of the most popular grape varieties.
Italy is one of the most popular producers of Moscato wine. However, it’s also produced in other European countries like France, Spain, and Portugal. There are also Moscato wine producers from the “new world” like the United States.
The Varieties Of Muscat Grapes
It’s easier to understand what Moscato wine is all about if you are familiar with the different Muscat grapes that are used to make this.
|Moscato Bianco/Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
|Oldest grape variety in these countries
|Muscat of Alexandria
|Believed to be as old as the Moscato Blanco
|Moscato Blanco is one of its parent grape
|Product of Chasselas and Muscat of Alexandria
|Muscat of Hamburg
|Dark-skinned grape offspring of Muscat of Alexandria and Schiava Grossa
|Muscat Bailey A
|Popular grape variety made from Muscat of Hamburg and Bailey
|Another dark-skinned grape variety
Focus On The Moscato Bianco And Muscat Of Alexandria
While there are several varieties of Muscat grapes, it seems there should be a special focus on two of the most common varieties – Moscato Bianco and Muscat of Alexandria. Most of the Moscato wines that you have encountered might have come from either of these varieties.
The Moscato Bianco, or as they call it in France, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, is regarded as one of the noblest Muscat Grapes. It’s probably because of several factors, including aroma and flavor profiles. While this grape is thin-skinned, it packs a lot of flavors.
It also gets better as it ages, which is something important in winemaking. It also gets better as it ages, which is important in winemaking. You can find a lot of Moscato Bianco in Italy. There are also many growers of this grape in France.
As for the Muscat of Alexandria, it’s as old as the Moscato Bianco. It’s probably because the Moscato Bianco is believed to be one of the parent grapes of the Muscat of Alexandria. It’s also a popular variety to make Moscato wine.
This large white grape thrives in Italy, particularly on the Mediterranean side. Compared to the Moscato Bianco, this grape variety is easier to grow. The Muscat of Alexandria is also very diverse. You can make different styles of wine from this variety.
Figuring Out The Different Styles Of Moscato Wine
If you are in Piedmont, Italy, don’t be surprised if you see many vineyards filled with Muscat grapes. One of the top wines produced here is the Moscato d’Asti. It is a white sparkling wine. It got its name after the Italian city of Asti, found in the Piedmont region.
If you are in Piedmont, Italy, don’t be surprised if you come across many vineyards filled with Muscat grapes. One of the top wines produced here is the Moscato d’Asti. This is a white sparkling wine. It got its name after the Italian city of Asti found in the Piedmont region. It is made from the Moscato Bianco grapes.
If you have tried drinking a glass of Moscato d’Asti, a burst of sweet and sophisticated flavors will greet you. It also has a sweet smell with hints of peaches and citrus. Some Moscato d’Asti gives off honey, strawberry, and raisin flavors.
Despite the sweetness of this wine, you won’t get drunk easily. The alcohol level is low, about 5.5%. That’s lower than the average wine alcohol levels of between 11% to 13%.
This wine style is also made from the Muscat Bianco grape. The Asti Spumante, as it is also known, is a full sparkling wine. Once you get a whiff of this semi-sweet wine, you will smell hints of peaches and blooms like Jasmine. Compared with the Moscato d’Asti, the Asti’s alcohol level is higher, averaging at around 6% to 9%.
Pink Moscato/ Moscato Rosa
What do you get if you mix Muscat Blanc with Merlot? Well, you get the rose-colored Pink Moscato. There is more to this sweet wine than its beautiful color. It’s fruity and flowery, with hints of red berries. Compared with other wines, the acidity and alcohol levels of the Pink Moscato is low.
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
The Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise hails from the Rhône Valley in France. This place is the second largest wine-growing area in the country. This wine is the result of combining two varieties of grapes – the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and the Muscat Noir. This pale gold-colored wine is sweet and has a high alcohol content of 15% or more.
Red Moscato is a sweet wine made from Muscat grapes (usually Muscat of Hamburg) and Shiraz. It usually has nectarine and berry flavors. There are also hints of peaches as well. While considered a sweet wine, its acid levels are not that high. With its lightness and freshness, this is a great option for those who aren’t into rich and savory wines.
Making Moscato Wine
One of the key steps in making Moscato wine is the grape’s freshness. As soon as the grapes are harvested, they need to be pressed and processed. In making Moscato, there is no time to waste or else the grapes will lose their freshness.
As soon as the grape juices are extracted, they need to be stored properly. The best temperature for storage should be around near freezing levels. And when it’s time to ferment the juices, it is better to do it in batches. The vinification would take about a month. The juice, also called “must”, should be stored in a 15-degree Celcius tank.
The fermentation process starts once the yeast is added to sealed tanks. The tanks must be sealed properly or else there will be premature fermentation. This could ruin the production of the Moscato wines.
The Moscato wine is ready once the preferred levels of residual sugar and alcohol content are achieved. This could vary, depending on the style of Moscato wine being produced. Take the Moscato d’Asti for example.
Once the alcohol level – with 5.5% as the maximum – is reached, the producers can stop the fermentation process. The residual sugar level is also checked. It should be around 100 grams per liter.
The next stop after a successful fermentation process is the filtering of the yeast. Once the yeast is gone, it’s time to bottle and cork the wines.
If the Moscato wine is made in Italy, the grapes used should have been harvested around September. And then by January, the wines should be ready.
This is, more or less, the general way of making Moscato wines. But of course, it also depends on the style of Moscato wine being made and the producer’s techniques and processes. Some producers even have well-kept secret ways of making their Moscato wines!
The Best Ways To Drink Moscato Wine
If you have gotten your hands on a good bottle of Moscato wine, consider pairing it with food. If you are a beginner, you have to start somewhere. While this might be an intimidating idea, it’ll be worth it.
There’s nothing quite like a good pairing to enhance the wine and dine experience. Make sure you chill your Moscato wine before serving and drinking it. Chilling the wine helps in releasing all its wonderful flavors.
Since it’s known for its sweetness, a Moscato wine is perfect for desserts. It’s ideal for any sweet treats that have berries and citrus flavors. Just imagine the explosion of saccharine taste!
Before you get to the dessert part, of course, you have to go through the rest of your meal first. The Moscato wine will work well with salads, especially the ones with fruit ingredients. If you love spicy food, the sweetness of the Moscato wine will balance everything out. And the same thing can be said for food with high sodium levels. The Moscato wine will counter the saltiness.
The Moscato Wine Is A Must
If you are not a fan of Dry wines, a bottle of sweet Moscato might just do the trick! And whether you prefer your wine to be bubbly, still or fortified, there’s a Moscato wine for you. So the next time you are selecting a wine, consider this refreshing and bright wine option!
George Moore, co-founder of Wine Flavor Guru, is a charismatic entrepreneur with a rich background in California’s wine industry. Alongside Sylvia, he transformed a Sonoma County vineyard into a source of premium wines. George’s expertise in sourcing exceptional grapes and his approachable style make wine appreciation both accessible and engaging.