Let's be honest, even mediocre Moscato wine tastes pretty good, but the best Moscato wines really jump out of the glass with flavors of orange blossom, honeysuckle, and peaches. Moscato is what the Italians call Muscat grapes, which are believed to be one of the earliest wine grapes on the planet! Most likely first planted in the Mediterranean region, I wonder if Cleopatra appreciated the low acidity of the best Moscato wines as much as we do?
Usually with a very low ABV, the low alcohol makes Moscato an ideal aperitif, allowing your guests to keep their wits about them as they drink glass after glass of this popular California sweet wine. With over 200 types of the Muscat grape, Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Blanc are the most common, though varieties like black muscat also exist.
The Greeks and Romans brought the Muscat grape to France. Drinking wine and conquering empires seem to go hand in hand, because the muscat made its way to Germany by way of the bordering French Alsace region where Riesling now rules. Muscat wound its vines through Europe, South Africa, North America, and Australia. With so many terroirs (fancy word for soil) and climates, it makes sense why Muscat grape varieties can taste so different.
White Moscato is the most common wine you'll see on the shelf. Slightly fizzy, it smells and tastes like flowers and fruit. Pink Moscato is usually just White Moscato with a little red wine blended in for color. It's a great party wine, or excellent for a party of one. No judgment here.
Red Moscato is darker in color with a thick-skinned red grape like Syrah or Zinfandel adding color. Sparkling Moscato is carbonated and extra bubbly on top of the natural light fizz that Moscato grapes have.
Either Bartenura Moscato or Saracco Moscato d'Asti is my go-to bottle of wine when I'm branching out from my usual chardonnay. The fizzy, fruity flavors of the Muscat varietal are hard to resist even for snobby wine lovers.
Best Moscato Wine Brands
1. Castello Del Poggio Moscato
Olive Garden put this wine on their wine list and the brand exploded. Castello del Poggio Moscato comes from Pavia to the east of Piedmont in Lombardy, Italy. This Italian wine from the Piedmont region knocks you out with sweet peach and floral notes.
2. Quinta Nova Pomares Moscatel, Portugal
If you enjoy the inexpensive and complex reds from Spain or the Douro regions of Portugal, then you need to add this dessert wine to your Portuguese playbook. Moscatel is made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes and very different from the Moscato you may be used to. Passionfruit is mixed with other tropical fruits and intense orange and tangerine flavors.
3. Ecco Domani Moscato
Ecco Domani's most popular white wine is their Pinot Grigio. It flies off the shelf and their Moscato is worth a try as well. This wine is semi sweet and perfect for drinking with slightly spicy meals and appetizers.
4. Brooks Terue Dry Muscat, Oregon
Oregon is known for their red and white Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris but this winery makes a unique and exceptional dessert wine from Muscat grapes. Very floral with a backdrop of rose petals and vanilla, this wine is worth seeking out. Also look for their amazing white blend called Amycas which has a good percentage of Muscat.
5. Sutter Home Pink Moscato
Sutter Home created White Zinfandel, giving every newly twenty-one year old girl their first glass of of grown up wine. Their popular Pink Moscato is in the same family. With a taste like strawberries with the slightest vanilla flavor, there's no denying you could down this like Snapple.
6. Ceretto Santo Stefano Moscato
With honey and floral aromas of orange blossom, this Moscato has depth and layers of flavor. Save this slightly sparkling wine for your snobby brother-in-law. There's no way he can hate it. If he does, he's a tasteless liar liar pants on fire.
7. Barefoot Moscato
Barefoot Moscato was many drinkers' introduction to the Moscato craze. It's inexpensive and easy to spot with the teal footprint on the label. It's more than fine and easy to drink ice cold with flavors of apricots and fresh grapes. Add some flavored seltzer to make a bubbly spritzer or use it as a base for an excellent white sangria.
8. Caposaldo Sparkling Peach Moscato
This sparkling sweet Moscato with an added natural peach also works as a white sangria starter or you can marinate fresh fruit in this simply fun Moscato wine.
9. Trimbach Muscat Reserve
If you're a Riesling drinker, an Alsatian Muscat should be next on your list to try. This wine has really bright citrus flavors with that signature mineral note that all the wines from Alsace have. Trimbach is one of the world's most classic producers of Alsace varietals.
10. Stein Family Magic Hour White Moscato
This White Moscato gets a color and flavor boost from the hearty Cabernet Franc grape. Cabernet Franc as a red wine has an almost cult following, so this blend is pretty intriguing. It's a lot of intense red fruit balanced with all the flowers and sweetness of the Muscat Blanc grape. This one sounds amazing!
Whether you're still a fan of dry wines, or we've inspired you to pop a bottle of Asti moscato spumante, we hope we've given you some wine choices to sip on!