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Not Your Average Moscato

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

“The challenge has been opening people’s eyes to the fact that Moscato can exist outside of the category of ‘sweet wines,’ ” —Heidi Barrett, La Sirena

Is Moscato Wine Sweet or Dry?

Moscato is considered a sweeter wine, but how it’s made is dictated by the winemaker and the style that they’re aiming to produce. It generally has lower acidity, with a slight sweetness thanks to higher levels of residual sugar. Stefano Chiarlo, enologist at family-owned Michele Chiarlo Winery, says he likes working with Moscato because “it is a native grape that produces a wine that is neither too heavy, nor too sweet and pairs well with more than just dessert.”

Many Moscatos are popular as they are made with lower alcohol (around 5-6%), whereas white wine is much higher with 12% alcohol. #BlackLivesMatter Moscato has 13.8 alcohol volume. It is not very sweet. We wanted to create a still Moscato that paired well with dinner and brunch so that it can be used as a conversation catalyst at dinner tables across the nation. We want people to not only enjoy amazing wine but also have engaging conversations about social justice.

There are 5 major Moscato wine types:

The “best” Moscato depends on the foods you pair with it and when you’re enjoying it.

Still Moscato

A still Moscato is made from Muscat Blanc grapes but also other Muscat varieties, like Muscat of Alexandria. This style isn’t very common, although its alcohol content is much higher than most Moscatos (close to 12% ABV). Still Moscato wine has a sweet fruity aroma that often tricks the brain, and the wine seems much sweeter than it actually is. But if you are a wine snob, it won’t be difficult for you to judge its semi-sweet taste.

Sparkling Moscato and Semi-Sparkling Moscato

Sparkling Moscato is made from Muscat Blanc grapes. This style is mainly found in the province of Asti, Italy, so naturally it’s called Moscato d’Asti. This sweet frizzante bubbly wine has high aromatics and light alcohol level (close to 5-6% ABV). Semi-sparkling and sparkling Moscato wines are sweeter than still Moscato. Their high sweetness levels are perfectly balanced with mild acidity and a slightly mineral taste.

Pink Moscato

Often compared with Champagne, Pink Moscato is a sparkling Moscato wine with a salmon pink color and an attractive fizz. It is processed as a white wine made from the Muscat Blanc grape. A dash of Merlot is added to give the wine its color. Although Merlot is a dry wine grape, it adds sweet red fruit flavors of raspberry and cherries to the Pink Moscato dessert wine.

Red Moscato

A very difficult wine to find, Red Moscato is made from the rare Black Muscat grape. The red Moscato flavor profile is often described with a unique flavor of fresh berries and floral aroma of violet and rose petals. You may also get a subtle taste of black tea and licorice in a black Muscat wine.

Dessert Moscato

One of the most popular Moscato wine styles, the Moscato Dessert Wine is known for its extremely sweet flavor of nectarines and honeysuckle. It has low alcohol content (5%-7% ABV) and a high sweetness level.

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.

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