There’s nothing like sipping a wine that smells like your grandmother’s powder room. It sends you down a memory lane of rose garden, violets and red fruits. Soothing and sweet, like grandma. And Moscato is likely what she drinks too.
But whether that memory is pleasant or nightmarish relies on a good relationship with your relatives. And your relationship with sweet wines.
Moscato — a low alcohol white wine that’s typically quite sugary and super fragrant — is so popular with millions of people (mostly women, which makes sense), there are actually rumblings of a grape shortage. California producers of this easy going, uncomplicated sipper are considering sourcing grapes from Italy just to fill the orders. Basically, Moscato is like the Pinterest of wine. Also called Muscat Blanc or Muscat Canelli, it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy, where it’s often made into a lightly spritzy quaffer to be enjoyed with brunch, fruit tarts and bears the name Moscato d’Asti — named after the region where it’s grown.
In the U.S., sweeter wines are often shamefully relegated to the “newbie” wine drinkers, but that’s crazy talk. You simply cannot match up dessert with a dry red wine (an exception being Zinfandel with dark chocolate dessert), so sweeter wines have a time and a place… and people are batty over it right now, so why should the wine snobs fight this powerful surge? I served a Batasiolo Moscato d’Asti with our wedding cake and am still reeling from the combo.
Martin and Weyrich pretty much specializes in this varietal. The 2010 Moscato Allegro has everything you should find in grandma’s Moscato — rose garden, peaches, ripe red apple, juicy pear and an aroma that doubles as perfume. It finishes with a smidge of acidity and the flavor of lemon squares.
Sweetness: 6 out of 10
Price: $10 -$15
Alcohol level: 7.5%
Occasion: A sample sent from the winery, tasted blind
Availability: On grocery store and big box stores across the country.
Food pairing: Spicy food, fruit tarts, cream-based desserts (lemon cream comes to mind)