|1. Pivot Gris||2. Fetzer||3. Gran Castillo|
I love wines that unabashedly do what they say on the can. Moscato falls into this category as a proudly yet delicately sweet Italian still wine that fits the bill for welcoming guests, serving with dessert or simply as a solo summer cooler.
But the story of Moscato does not begin and end in Italy. This varietal is a member of the sprawling Muscat family which includes about 200 varieties cultivated for millennia across the globe. It displays a different personality depending on where it is grown and can be white, yellow or red-skinned but is always characterized by a floral character. It works beautifully in frizzante and still, sweet and dry styles. Indeed, an interesting note about Muscat is often when it is dry, its heady floral notes trick you in thinking it is sweet!
Muscat is one of the oldest varietals in the world which may explain why it has traveled so far over the centuries. Some wine aficionados even believe that Muscat is so ancient, that many grapes in the VitisVinifera family are its descendants. Indeed, the history of the Muscat grape is shrouded in mystery as is the source of its name. Some think it started life in Arabia and was named after a town there, others think Greece is its birthplace.
Whatever its origins, this light, floral and sweet grape has a welcome place at the table and the Italian still is no exception. It pairs well with spicy Thai or Indian food, strong blue cheese and creamy desserts.
Moscato is a sweet expression that is so delicate and divine, you are inspired to explore the world of wine for its twin. There are plenty out there so enjoy the journey.
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Top 5 Best Wines Similar To Moscato 2021
1. Pinot Gris, Vendages Tardives, Alsace
You can always rely on Alsace in eastern France to take the noble varieties and turn them into liquid lushness with its centuries-old winemaking repertoire. Pinot Gris is one of these varietals and central to wine production in this vibrant region. This grape expresses as anything from dry and floral to sweet and tropical depending on where it is grown. In Alsace, lovely viscous off-dry styles abound. One of the only spots on earth where winemakers make sweeter styles of Pinot Gris to high quality, if you are looking for an alternative to still Moscato, you have plenty of choices here. Flavors feature confectioned lemon and honey-coated apples all laced with gentle acidity.
Domaine Weinbach produces a divine sweet Pinot Gris called Tokay – Pinot Gris Alsace Vendages Tardives. The latter two words translate into late harvest which means beautifully and naturally sweet. The reference to the sweet Hungarian wine Tokaji, dates back to when Alsace winemakers tried to copy this regal style and the name still sometimes appears on Vendages Tardives labels. This Pinot Gris is made from over-ripened and Botrytis-affected grapes and boasts floral, fruity aromas, good concentration, and interesting complexity.
2. Gewürztraminer, California
Traveling all the way to California on the west coast of America, we find another noble grape that reflects the local terroir and climate with a sweet note. Gewürztraminer expressions range from light and aromatic to sweet and floral making it a good choice as a stand-in for Moscato.
Fetzer Shaly Loam Gewürztraminer goes the sweet, gingery, and spicy route with passion. Like a still Moscato, this cool-climate Gewürz has a medium-sweet nose with ripples of melon and stone fruit, rosewater, and cinnamon. On the palate, you get pineapple cake and nutty pastry complemented by vibrant, balancing acidity.
3. Moscatel, Spain
With its balmy Mediterranean weather, the Moscatel varietal grows happily in Spain’s east-central region of Valencia. Another member of the large, sprawling Muscat family, vineyards benefit from clay-rich soil and intense sunshine so grapes can develop to perfection, bursting with fruity aromas and ripe flavors.
Gran Castillo Moscatel is a prime example of how this grape expresses itself in Valencia. With its bright yellow and green tones, its color alone hints at abundant flavors. Its bouquet is fresh and full suggesting what is to come on the palate. The mouth is intense, lightly candied and fruit-forward led by tropical and gooseberry flavors. Serve as an aperitif or pair with salads, fish dishes, paella, light meats, and cheeses. Its sweet character makes Gran Castillo Moscatel a perfect accompaniment to spicy food. Balanced, intense, and complex, Spanish Moscatel is an ideal choice for your bank of wines similar to Moscato.
4. Muskateller, Austria
Just reading the name of this Austrian varietal conjures up floral aromas and fruity flavors. Not surprisingly as its name indicates, it is also part of the large Muscat family which spreads far and wide across the world. The Austrian expression displays as pale yellow with a floral, elderflower nose and juicy palate featuring spicy nutmeg hints.
Steininger produces Muskateller made from yellow and red grapes for more vibrant fresh and intense flavors. The bouquet is of tea roses with taut acidity tying up a ripe, abundant mouth. Delicate and fine, this Austrian wine can step into the shoes of an Italian Moscato with grace and charm.
5. Riesling Auslese, Germany
Auslese means “selected harvest” and is used to describe Riesling grapes that are harvested as late as December with the aim to allow optimal sugar concentration in the vine. One of the four German Prädikatsweincategories, Auslese means strict production methods and high quality. Sweet and concentrated with racy minerality, it is comfortable next to a Moscato on the table.
Fritz Haag Brauneberger is one of the finest examples of Auslese. Full of body and finesse, concentrated floral notes and flavors of papaya, apricot, and quince, this complex Riesling is fresh on the palate and finish. Pair with hot food, sweetly fruity, nutty desserts, or strong cheese.
Once you have tasted a lightly floral, sweet Moscato, it is hard to get it out of your mind. Get ready for an exciting adventure as you get to know its friends and family.