Food and Wine – Moscato 101: Everything You Need to Know about Moscato Wine

Business People Party Celebration Success Concept

By Food and Wine

Our guide to Moscato covers how to identify, taste, and savor this delicate, sweet wine.

Moscato wine evokes strong opinions among oenophiles—they adore its sweet fruit aroma or can’t stand it one bit. Whether sipped as an aperitif or dessert wine, mixed into cocktails for fizz, poached with fruit, or paired with fiery cuisine, Moscato is much more versatile and complex than most would realize. Moscato grapes, or muscat, are grown up and down Italy, making for a wide diversity of flavors and styles. From bubbly to still to fortified, Moscato makes a provocative addition to any wine lover’s repertoire. Our guide dishes out everything you need to know about this delicately fruity and floral wine.

Best Moscato Wines

Put your Moscato know-how to the test with our top picks. You won’t have to hop across the Atlantic for these wines—we’ve chosen a variety from sparkling to fortified that you should be able to find online or at your local wine store. Many vineyards will ship directly to your home if your state allows it.

2015 Castello del Poggio Moscato d’Asti
Producer: Castello del Poggio
Where: Piedmont, Italy
Tasting notes: Lightly-sparkling with a balance of sweet honey, peach and candied orange. Best enjoyed as an aperitif or dessert wine.
ABV: 5.5%
Average price: $10-$12

What are the different types of Moscato wine?

With a huge variety of Muscat grapes comes a diverse offering of Moscato wines. Many of these Moscato varieties are more difficult to find in the United States, but they’re reason enough to plan your next trip to Italy.

Moscato d’Asti: A lightly-sparkling, golden-colored wine produced in the northwestern Piedmont region, Moscato d’Asti comes from Muscat à Petits Grains and is the most recognizable variety. A low alcohol content (5.5% ABV), lightly-sweet flavor, and soft, gentle bubbles (frizzante in Italian) make Moscato d’Asti a popular aperitif or dessert wine pairing.

What are the best foods to pair with Moscato?

The secret to pairing any wine with food is balance. Moscato is sweet, so ideally you should pair it with foods possessing opposite flavor profiles—spicy, sour, salty, bitter. While its sweet fruity essence can make it difficult to pair with a main course, Moscato is perfect with appetizers, sweet brunch dishes, dessert, and alone as an aperitif.