Let’s be clear, Moscato is not your grandmother’s sorry excuse for a sweet wine. Well, some of it is, but there’s sophistication and structure, too, if that’s what you’re after.
Some of the highest-rated Moscatos on the market have long been considered among the best wines in the world. It’s a genre not unlike Champagne or Rosé—one that’s been flooded with so many imposters or entry-level spinoffs that it can be hard to wade through and find the good stuff. We’re here for you.
Before we get into some of the choicest options, let’s break down what it is. Broadly, Moscato has come to include white wines made in several countries from a couple hundred different varieties of Muscat grapes. The most famous is arguably Moscato d’Asti from northern Italy and is the primary focus of this piece. The effervescent, lightly sweet, and very aromatic wines are session-able with nice and low ABVs. But there’s also Moscatel (Spanish), Muscat (French), and a few others in there, both still and sparkling.
As you look to walk gracefully into the Moscato horizon, be on the lookout for these 9 sterling options.
Pio Cesare Moscato d’Asti
This wine from a reliable Italian name has nice structure thanks to some aging on the lees. A touch of effervescence is joined by honey and orchard fruit on the palate.
Cascinetta Vietti Moscato d’Asti
The Vietti version puts Moscato’s vibrant aromatics on full display. Waft it into your nose and you’ll get ginger, wild flowers, and peach pie. Flavor-wise, there’s some nice citrus, making it perfect with Asian cuisine and most seafood.
Donnafugata Kabir Moscato di Pantelleria
This Sicilian wine is good and sweet, packed with dense tropical fruit elements. A little bit of spice and herbaceous notes show up on the back end and the whole experience calls for some conserva and a sun-soaked beach.
Bodegas Botani Moscatel Secco
From the Sierras de Malaga in Spain, this frizzante wine is very floral and the perfect counterpart to spicy fare like Thai curries. Or, just throw a curly straw in the bottle and sip neat on your porch.
Jose Maria Fonseca Alambre Moscatel
A fortified take from southern Portugal, this wine has been made for generations and is enjoying a new and wider following as of late. Which is no wonder, as it’s an ideal post-meal sipper full of lush fruit flavors and a lasting finish.
G.D. Vajra Moscato d’Asti
One of the best qualities of this Moscato is its delicate, near-perfect texture. There’s an ideal amount of bubbles, alongside some tasty peach and pineapple notes.
Saracco Moscato d’Asti
If OutKast were a wine, this would be it as it’s so fresh and so clean. It bursts with fruity flavors and a pinch of wild honey and, while great on its own, it’s all the better with some fresh berries or melon thrown in.
St. Supéry Moscato
This Napa Valley riff is redolent with bright orange marmalade flavors, the kind you’d spread on a nice slice of toast in the morning. It’ll remind you of longer spring and summer days, even when enjoyed in the dead of winter.
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
Hailing from South Africa, this dessert wine is fortified but prominently features the Moscato grape. It’s decadent and complex, showing quince, leather, and green tea flavors.
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