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Moscato d’Asti is the wine trifecta

Moscato d’Asti is the wine trifecta

Who doesn’t love anything fizzy, chilled and refreshing?

That trifecta is just one explanation for America’s growing love of Moscato d’Asti.

Home in Italy’s Piedmont region Moscato d’Asti is made from moscato bianco, a grape that’s hundreds of years older than the familiar cabernet sauvignon. When most consumers think of Moscato, they have a disappointing tendency to compare it to its sweeter, easy drinking fizzy cousin, Asti Spumante produced in the same region from the same grape.

Moscato d’Asti offers distinct aromas of lemon, pear, orange and honeysuckle. If the aromas were not refreshing enough the taste seals the deal with a tingle on your tongue from the half-sparkling style (frizzante in Italian) with high acidity and slight carbonation. Another reason to the love this wine is the surprisingly low alcohol level, around 5.5% alcohol by volume. (By comparison, an average bottle of white wine is 12% to 13% alcohol by volume.)

The secret behind this refreshing bottle is in the technique. Fermentation takes place in a stainless-steel tank making it ideal to preserve the natural carbonation. The fermentation is stopped at 5% to 5.5% ABV leaving enough residual sugar to create a pleasantly sweet wine. The process is quite different from other sparkling wines such as Champagne. Unlike Champagne there is not a “secondary fermentation” inside the bottle.


  • NV Mia Dolcea Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $12 retail)


  • NV Saracco Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $19 retail)

Moscato gains ground from wine aficionados

Moscato Gaining GroundIn the past few years Moscato has earned a solid spot in the top five white wines being consumed in the United States, becoming even more popular than sauvignon blanc and Riesling. And it looks like it is here to stay. Moscato is one of the fastest growing styles of wine, with sales up 70 percent in a given year.

Moscato is made from the Muscat family of white grapes. Italy’s Piedmont region is one of the homes to this wine style, Moscato d’Asti. If you’re thinking a frothy, fizzy, fairly neutral wine, you may be thinking of its cousin, Asti Spumante. Sadly, many confuse Moscato d’Asti with Asti Spumante, which is produced in the same region with the same grape, the moscato bianco.

In the past, when the trendy demand for Asti skyrocketed, the Piedmont area produced millions of bottles of this fizzy, easy-drinking style of wine, more than 80 million bottles a year. But as with most trends, the demand dropped off as the world moved onto another, more fashionable grape. Because of the enormous amount of production and an astounding export volume, Moscato d’Asti became lumped with the cheap, cheerful, sweet Asti, leading consumers to think they were one and the same.

The style of Moscato with which American consumers are enthralled is lightly sparkling, low alcohol (often in the 7 to 8 percent range) and beautifully fruity. So judge for yourself the force of the grape as a companion to food, refreshing on its own, or simply dessert.


  • NV Mezzacorona Moscato, Italy (about $13 retail)
  • NV Stella Rosa Moscato, Italy (about $14 retail)
  • NV Ecco Domani Moscato, Italy (about $13 retail)


  • 2011 Marchesi di Barolo Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $20 retail)
  • NV Marco Negri Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $20 retail)

Love of the grape gets a celebration

National Moscato DayAdd to your calendar another day to celebrate – this one for the love of a grape. Moscato has hit a stride with consumers and continues to be the fastest-growing grape varietal in the United States. It’s so popular that Thursday is National Moscato Day.

The style just seems to work for many American palates with its light, bubbly sweet tastes. It’s known for its surprising perfume-like fragrance. Even as a low-alcohol, straightforward wine the aromatics in most moscato have layers of tropical fruits, peach, orange blossom and even honeysuckle. It not only tastes refreshing, the easy-going wine pairs easily with many cheeses and spicy foods.

Most of us don’t need a reason to have a chilled glass of Moscato but lots of fun is to be had Thursday, starting with Gallo Family Vineyards, who will be hosting a National Moscato Day Twitter party from 8 to 9 p.m. It is offering an open invitation for anyone looking to learn more about the wine and different ways to enjoy it. By joining the conversation using the hashtag #MoscatoDay on Twitter, people can share and gather hosting tips, food-pairing suggestions and wine facts. Gallo is bringing in a few food and wine experts to join in the discussion, making the party even better.

Sutter Home Family Vineyards are also joining in the fun with a Moscato Day Sweepstakes from today to May 31. Fans are invited to enter for a chance to win one of 100 Moscato Prize Packs that contain a set of six charms, four plastic wine glasses, a sparkling wine stopper and a moscato cocktail recipe booklet. Sutter Home will also be hosting a Twitter Party, join in @SutterHome for #sutter-HomeMoscato from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Eight people will be randomly entered to win a prize during the live Twitter party sweepstakes. Visit nationalmoscatoday.com for more information.


  • 2011 Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato, California (about $6 retail)
  • 2011 Sutter Home Family Vineyards Moscato, California (about $6 retail)
  • 2001 Mionetto Vineyards, Italy (about $14 retail)
  • 2011 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Moscato, California (about $8 retail)
  • 2011 Ecco Domani Moscato, Italy (about $15 retail)THE SPLURGES
  • 2011 St. Supery Moscato, California (about $22 retail)
  • 2011 Marco Negri Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $22 retail)


Is moscato new fave in the US?

Muscat GrapesIt’s not often that trendwatching is part of wine drinking, but over the past year moscato has hit a stride with consumers. The trend is not only that sales continue to grow and grow, but also that the wine may quickly replace American’s love affair with white zinfandel.

I know it’s not a wine likely to receive universal approval by wine critics with scores and cellar notes, but its sweet, light, bubbly style just seems to work. Moscato is known for its surprising perfume-like fragrance. Even as a low-alcohol content, straightforward wine, the aromatics in most moscato are amazing – tropical fruits, peach, orange blossom and even honeysuckle.

Moscato should be enjoyed when it’s young and fresh. It needs to be served chilled and it pairs well with an array of foods, from brunch to dessert. Some of my favorite matches are apple desserts, summer salads, peach cobbler, fresh berries, lemon breads and quiche. With its versatility and balance of sweetness and acidity, it’s also an ideal starter wine for summer parties, weddings or even just sipping on the deck.


  • 2011 Ecco Domani Italia Moscato, Italy (about $15 retail)
  • 2011 Bella Sera Moscato, Italy (about $10 retail)
  • 2011 Barefoot Moscato, California (about $10 retail)
  • 2011 Candoni Moscato d’Italia, Italy (about $14 retail)


  • 2011 St. Supery Moscato, California (about $22 retail)
  • 2011 Marco Negri Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $22 retail)