MOSCATO

     MOSCATO WINE IS FAMOUS FOR ITS SWEET FLAVORS OF PEACHES AND ORANGE BLOSSOM.  THE WORD MOSCATO IS THE ITALIAN NAME FOR MUSCAT BLANC - ONE OF THE OLDEST WINE GRAPES IN THE WORLD.

 

     ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR MOSCATO WINE STYLES IS BASED ON THE ITALIAN WINE CALLED MOSCATO D’ASTI FROM PIEDMONT.  THEY HAVE PERFUMED AROMAS OF MANDARIN ORANGE, RIPE PEAR, SWEET MEYER LEMON, ORANGE BLOSSOM, AND HONEYSUCKLE. THE WINE’S UNIQUE FLORAL AROMA IS FROM AN AROMATIC COMPOUND CALLED LINALOOL WHICH IS ALSO FOUND IN MINT, CITRUS FLOWERS, AND CINNAMON.  MUSCAT GRAPES ARE QUITE OLD (THOUSANDS OF YEARS!) AND THUS, YOU CAN FIND IT GROWING THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ARE MUSCAT-BASED WINES IN FRANCE, ITALY, AUSTRIA, GREECE, ISRAEL AND EVEN AUSTRALIA. EACH REGION HAS A ITS OWN STYLE. HERE ARE THE MOST WELL-KNOWN MOSCATO STYLES: 

 

SPARKLING AND SEMI-SPARKLING MOSCATO
     THE ITALIAN WINES OF MOSCATO D’ASTI (SEMI-SPARKLING) AND ASTI SPUMANTE (SPARKLING) ARE THE CLASSIC EXAMPLES, BUT YOU’LL DISCOVER WINES LABELED “MOSCATO” ARE TYPICALLY MADE IN THIS STYLE.THE BEST WINES ARE HIGHLY AROMATIC AND SWEET, BUT PERFECTLY BALANCED WITH ZIPPY ACIDITY, BUBBLES, AND A CLEAN, MINERALLY FINISH. THIS MIGHT JUST BE THE PERFECT POOL PARTY WINE. 

 

STILL MOSCATO
     STILL (AS IN NOT SPARKLING) VERSIONS OF MOSCATO ARE MADE WITH MUSCAT BLANC GRAPES BUT ALSO OTHER MUSCAT VARIETIES, LIKE MUSCAT OF ALEXANDRIA.  WINES ARE OFTEN DRY TO TASTE, BUT SINCE THE AROMATICS ARE SO SWEET AND FRUITY YOUR BRAIN TRICKS YOU INTO THINKING THEY’RE SWEET. THEY’RE AWESOME, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE COUNTING CARBS. 

 

PINK MOSCATO
     PINK MOSCATO IS MORE OF A MARKETING SCHTICK THAN IT IS A CLASSIC MOSCATO WINE STYLE – EVEN THOUGH IT CAN BE TASTY! THIS WINE IS MADE WITH MOSTLY MUSCAT GRAPES AND USUALLY DOLLUP OF MERLOT TO GIVE IT A RUBY-PINK COLOR. IMAGINE THE CLASSIC MOSCATO FLAVORS WITH A TOUCH OF STRAWBERRY.

 

RED MOSCATO (AKA BLACK MUSCAT)
     IT’S RARE, BUT THERE’S A GRAPE VARIETY CALLED BLACK MUSCAT. IMAGINE RASPBERRY, ROSE PETALS AND VIOLETS, WITH SUBTLE ROASTED NOTES OF ASSAM BLACK TEA. THE GRAPE IS A CROSS MADE FROM A RARE ITALIAN RED GRAPE CALLED SCHIAVA (WOWSA) AND MUSCAT OF ALEXANDRIA. THE UNITED STATES HAS SEVERAL GOOD PRODUCERS OF BLACK MUSCAT WORTH CHECKING OUT. 

 

MOSCATO DESSERT WINES
     EVEN SWEETER THAN MOSCATO D’ASTI ARE THE DESSERT WINES. THERE ARE MANY TO TRY: FRENCH MUSCAT DE RIVESALTES AND MUSCAT DE BEAUMES DE VENISE; IN SOUTHERN SPAIN, THERE IS A SPECIAL MOSCATEL SHERRY WITH RICH WITH CARAMEL FLAVORS; IN SOUTHERN PORTUGAL, MOSCATEL DE SETÚBAL IS MADE WITH THE RARE MOSCATEL ROXO GRAPES; IN GREECE, MUSCAT OF SAMOS COMES IN A VARIETY OF SWEET STYLES; IN SICILY, MUSCAT GRAPES ARE OFTEN PARTIALLY DRIED TO CONCENTRATE THE SWEETNESS; IN AUSTRALIA, RUTHERGLEN MUSCAT IS ONE OF THE SWEETEST STYLES IN THE WORLD – SO SWEET, YOU COULD POUR IT OVER ICE CREAM!

 

 

RED MEAT

PORK

POULTRY

CHICKEN, DUCK, TURKEY

SEAFOOD

LIGHT FLAKY FISH, SHRIMP, CRAB, LOBSTER, HALIBUT, COD

CHEESE

MEDIUM TO FIRM CHEESES WILL PAIR EXCELLENTLY. LOOK FOR SHEEP AND COW’S MILK CHEESES 

HERBS/SPICES

CINNAMON, GINGER, GALANGAL, BASIL, LIME, MINT, CARDAMOM, CHILI PEPPERS, CAYENNE PEPPER, CLOVE, SHALLOTS, CASHEW, PEANUT, FENNEL, CILANTRO 

VEGETABLES

CARROTS, CELERY, FENNEL, TOFU, RED AND YELLOW BELL PEPPER, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, ORANGE, GREEN ONION 

NEED SOME IDEAS?

     SPICY FOOD. TRY SERVING WITH DISHES LIKE SICHUAN BEEF, THAI CRAB CURRY, OR SPICY CAJUN-        STYLE CHICKEN WINGS.

     APPETIZERS.  ONE OF THE EASIEST POSSIBLE FOODS FOR A COCKTAIL HOUR IS A CRUDITE                        PLATTER, AND MOSCATO WINE PAIRS PERFECTLY WITH THIS CROWD FAVORITE. THE CRISPNESS OF      RAW VEGETABLES PLAYS WELL WITH THE CRISP FINISH OF MOSCATO AND VEGETABLES SUCH AS          CARROTS, CELERY, RED AND YELLOW BELL PEPPERS AND GREEN ONION ARE ALL VEGETABLES              THAT WORK ESPECIALLY WELL WITH MOSCATO WINE. CHEESES THAT PAIR WELL WITH MOSCATO          ARE VARIED AND RANGE FROM SOFT CHEESES, LIKE BRIE TO MEDIUM-FIRM CHEESES LIKE                        PECORINO ROMANO. A SIMPLE BRUSCHETTA IS ALSO A CROWD-PLEASING APPETIZER THAT WILL          COMPLEMENT MOSCATO WINE WELL.

     

     MAIN DISHES.  WHEN IT COMES TO SERVING YOUR MAIN COURSE, SPICY DISHES ARE HIGHLY                    RECOMMENDED WITH MOSCATO. DISHES LIKE CURRY WHETHER THAI OR INDIAN, SPICY SPAGHETTI      ARRABBIATA AND HOT FOODS FROM SZECHUAN, CHINESE AND VIETNAMESE CUISINE WORK                  SEAMLESSLY WITH MOSCATO WINE. IF YOU AREN’T A HUGE FAN OF INTENSE SPICES, MOSCATO              ALSO WORKS WITH LIGHT FLAKY FISH, CHICKEN, TURKEY, SHRIMP, LOBSTER, CRAB AND DUCK                WHICH LEAVES YOUR OPTIONS VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED WHEN IT COMES TO PREPARING YOUR MAIN      DISH. FOR VEGETARIANS, MOSCATO NOT ONLY WORKS WITH THE VEGETABLES LISTED ABOVE, BUT      IT ALSO PAIRS WONDERFULLY WITH TOFU.

     

     DESSERTS.  A SWEET GLASS OF DESSERT MOSCATO OR MOSCATO D’ASTI CAN BE A GREAT FINISH          TO YOUR MEAL ON ITS OWN, BUT IF YOU WANT TO SERVE SOMETHING SWEET, THERE ARE PLENTY        OF DESSERTS THAT PAIR WELL WITH MOSCATO. BISCOTTI IS A CLASSIC CHOICE WHEN IT COMES TO      DESSERTS AND MOSCATO, AND NUT-BASED DESSERTS SUCH AS A CARAMEL CASHEW TORTE TASTE      GREAT WITH MOSCATO AS WELL. BECAUSE MOSCATO HAS SUCH A FRUITY AROMA AND TASTE,              FRUIT DESSERTS ARE ALSO POPULAR WITH MOSCATO. OTHER DESSERTS TO ENJOY WITH MOSCATO      INCLUDE GRILLED PEACHES, SUCCULENT CHERRY PIE OR CREAMY CHEESECAKE.