June might not be the height of peach season, but it can taste like it when you open a bottle of Moscato. Although winemakers craft this grape into a variety of styles—from sweet to dry—bottles on the sweeter side often bring to mind a voluptuous, drippingly ripe peach. Pear and apricot notes may also join in the fresh and lively, fruit-bowl effects, along with a pleasant earthy-spicy character that’s often described as “musky.”
Moscato comes in both still and frizzante (lightly sparkling) versions. Sweet-styled, still Moscatos gain voluptuous body from their lush, honeyed-fruit characteristics—they’re some of the smoothest wines you’ll ever drink.
The frizzante versions bring all that fruit—and more. A delicate sparkle offers refreshment and finesse for a lively, vibrant, and irresistible sip. Most frizzante Moscatos are strikingly low in alcohol—and how perfect for summer is that?
Serve Moscato well chilled and enjoy as an apéritif, with spicy hors d’oeuvres, or with a fruity-creamy dessert. Frizzante Moscatos also make a great “last bottle of the evening” wine to uncork with a group of friends on a hot summer night.
Sweet, Non-Sparkling Moscatos
• Angove Family Winemakers “Nine Vines” 2010 Moscato (South Australia; $10)
• Sutter Home 2009 Moscato (California; $6)
• Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato (South Eastern Australia; $5)
Lightly sparkling Moscatos
• Caposaldo 2009 Moscato (Provincia di Pavia, Italy; $14)
• Michele Chiarlo 2009 “Nivolo” Moscato D’Asti (Asti, Italy; $15/375-ml bottle)
• Casalnova 2009 Moscato (Puglia, Italy; $14)
• Vino dei Fratelli 2009 Moscato d’Asti (Asti, Italy; $16)
• Ceretto Vignaioli Santo Stefano Moscato d’Asti (Asti, Italy; $23)
—By Wini Moranville