How to Identify Moscato Wine and Pair it With Food
If you are looking for a type of white wine that goes incredibly well with most dishes, you cannot go wrong with Moscato wine. This Italian-based wine grape is one of the oldest varieties in the world and provides a wide palette of assortments with different levels of acidity, alcohol and rich taste.
Learning how to identify Moscato wine and pair it with food will take you a bit of time and frequent wine tasting, but none of your efforts will be in vain. By mastering this bountiful style of wine you will be able to identify the white wine that best matches your meal, regardless of your dietary preferences. So, let’s take our first sip and discover more about this delightful type of wine!
What is Moscato Wine?
Moscato Wine is a lightweight white wine that comes originally from Italy. One of the most popular varieties of this liquor is Moscato d’Asti traditionally native to the Piedmont area.
This sweet, light fizzy wine comes from Muscat grapes, which many experts track its initial cultivation to ancient Egypt making it one of the oldest types of grapes that are available today.
Nowadays, Muscat grapes grow all over the world mainly because they have very few weather and soil restrictions.
You can buy Muscat wine originating from Argentina, New Zealand, France, and the USA, just as easy as you can find Italian Moscato.
Muscat grapes come in over 200 varieties and vary in color from white to golden, and from grey to pink to black. The most used Muscat grapes in the production of wine are usually the ones with lighter shades of grey and gold. The darker varieties usually end up as blending mass for table wine or as raisins.
How to identify Moscato Wine
Even if Moscato wine can be still or fortified, its most popular version is lightly-bubbled with a fizzy texture. It is usually sweet and light, which makes it easy to drink during long dinners or casual conversations.
It has a strikingly fruity perfume and carries aromas of citrus fruits, apricots, and rose petals. Because it has a high amount of sugar, it leaves a pleasant aftertaste that always asks for another sip.
If you travel abroad, you might find Moscato wine under different names. For example, in Germany, you will discover it under the name of Muskateller, while in Spain and Portugal its label will most surely read Moscatel. Otherwise, brands from the USA or Australia prefer to keep its Italian labeling of Moscato.
Types of Moscato Wine
Muscat grapes tend to carry a different aroma depending on the region where they grow. As a result, Moscato wine may taste differently from one region to another within Italy or from around the world. All in all, there are a few common types of Moscato that you are likely to encounter on the market, such as:
This type of wine comes from Muscat à Petits Grains, which is the most popular type of Muscat grapes. It has a low alcohol percentage of around 5.5% ABV, and its lightweight, bubbly texture makes it ideal for aperitifs.
This liquor is a still type of Moscato with a light red color and a sweet, berry-flavored aroma. It comes from red-skinned grapes that grow at high altitudes in the Trentino Alto-Adige region of northeastern Italy.
Moscato Giallo is Italian for “Yellow Muscat,” but its color is closer to gold, which becomes obvious when you pour it into a platinum crystal glass. It has a citrus fruit flavor and a dry aftertaste typical to the colder climates of northern Italy where the grapes come from.
Moscato di Pantalleria
Pantalleria is a tiny island between Sicily and Tunisia. Here, the locals grow a type of Muscat grapes that they call Zibbibo, and which give the wine an apricot-like taste and an amber nuance. Its sweet aroma makes it ideal for desserts.
This type of Moscato comes mainly from the Washington area in the United States. It is available in both still and fizzy varieties and it resembles the Moscato d’Asti.
This liquor is the typical Moscato white wine that you can find almost anywhere in the world. It is lightly bubbly with a sweet taste and a mineral aftertaste that resembles citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.
This type of Moscato does not come from only one variety of grapes. In general, producers mix white Moscato with a bit of Merlot to obtain a light-red or pink color. It has a sweet flavor with a semi-dry aftertaste and usually comes with a sparkling texture.
Red Moscato is similar to Pink Moscato – a combination of White Moscato with red wines like Syrah or Zinfandel. Depending on the quantity of red wine, Red Moscato can sometimes develop a dark, burgundy color, and you might encounter it under the name of Black Moscato. It has a dry texture with flavors of black tea and rose petals.
This liquor is plain White Moscato but with a greater intensity of bubbles that increase its sparkling effect. It is mostly sweet and with a strong aftertaste of citrus fruits.
How to pair Moscato Wine with food
The first thing that you should know when trying to pair Moscato wine with food is that you are dealing with a type of liquor that is mostly sweet. Therefore, it is ideal that you combine it with spicy dishes, bitter or sour recipes, and even salty snacks.
You should treat Moscato wine according to its main qualities: sweet, sparkling and lightweight. These traits make it perfect for appetizers, sweet desserts, and as a faithful companion to pre-dinner conversations.
Moscato wine goes great with poultry, light fish, and sea fruit. You can also enjoy its powerful flavors when pairing it with spices like ginger, basil, cloves, and cinnamon. It can easily accompany a meal of Asian cuisine that is rich in vegetables and spicy sauces, and you can also drink it after eating light varieties of cheese and tofu.