Aussie pronunciation: mo-ska-toh
Moscato is a wine style derived from the Muscat grape. The Muscat family of grapes is rather large and has been used for centuries to create the full gamut of wine styles ranging from bubbles, a still wine, pink, black and dessert.
The grape itself is sweet and floral in aroma. The wine styles created from it include a bouquet of mandarin citrus, pears, blossoms and honeysuckle, appealing to the sweeter palate and those who enjoy lower alcohol.
Its origins are difficult to ascertain. It is assumed it is an ancient grape due to some 200 grape varietals sharing the same ‘Muscat’ lineage. And despite slight differences in the style in terms of sparkle, colour and dryness – all wines created have a similar sweet, lighter bodied wine profile.
As we know it in Australia Moscato is generally a sweet Italian wine style typically thought of as a dessert wine with a hint of fizz; a low alcohol wine which makes for a great mid-afternoon spritz. It might come in the following three variations:
Pink Moscato (sparkling) – most common
In Italy you would find this wine filed under Moscato D’Asti, usually pink in colour with a slight fizz (or frizzante). This style is made from the Muscat Blanc, a white grape varietal, and derives its colour from some time partnering with Merlot. The more time with Merlot the darker the colour.
The bubbles arriving through a process called Charmat or Carbonation. The method chosen really depends on the winemaker and if they are after. Quick bubbles on the palate indicate Carbonation and a creamier finish would suggest Charmat.
Also known as Moscatel is a white wine. You won’t come across this one much in Australia produced from the Muscat Blanc of Zibbo grape. It also is pretty different to the Pink Muscat and fizz as it comes usually very dry with a higher alcohol much like your typical red wine.
Typically made with Moscatel grapes or Orange Muscat grapes these wines are much thicker, oiler and deeper in colour. Finished off and aged in oak.
If you are planning on cracking open a bottle of Moscato what could you enjoy with it? Given its sweetness and low alcohol it is quite versatile. A particular favourite match of ours, if you are into spicy flavoured foods, with the Sparkling Pink Moscato is curry (Thai or Indian). If you are keener on something less spiced you can also match to light flavours such as grilled fish or crustaceans – lobster or crab.
Then the classic match for dessert would be nut based. How about a peach crumble or equally as tasty a rich cheesecake? Now we’re salivating!
While Moscato might not be for everyone with the right food match it just might surprise you.