When a bottle of ready-to-pour Madria Sangria Moscato arrived at our office, we eyed it with equal parts suspicion and intrigue: after all, we're obsessed with the stuff and have tried dozens of homemade sangria recipes. Does the flavor of bottled sangria, which goes for $6 a bottle, match up to homemade batches? Find out if the sangria tastes authentic or artificial.
We're loving Australian wines lately, especially light, sweet whites, so it only makes sense that the Jacob's Creek Sparkling Moscato ($13) would be an instant Summer favorite. The delicate, light flavor reflects the nonvintage bubbly's relatively low alcohol content, but we think this is a good thing, especially for daytime picnics, boat rides, or trips to the beach.
While some sparkling enthusiasts might prefer something stronger with a fermented bite, those just looking to casually pop the cork on a checkered picnic blanket will appreciate the honeysuckle sweetness of this sparkling Moscato. Its zesty, lemon-lime flavors dance with a bubbly effervescence, making it a crisp adult version of Sprite. Smoked salmon, fresh burrata, and crusty baguettes are just a few things we would pair effortlessly with this sublime sparkling Australian wine.
Ever since I was pleasantly surprised by Yellow Tail's latest wine, a well-priced Australian Moscato, the muscat grape has assumed the role of flavor of the month. Call it coincidence, but a few days later, I sampled Presto Moscato Dolce and fell hard for its flavor profile.
This Italian bottling isn't nearly as sweet (nor has the same intensity) as its Yellow Tail counterpart. Rather, it greets you with a light perfume of honeyed stone fruits and lots of effervescence. The finish, which is more off-dry than an extra dry sparkling wine, but not quite as sweet as Moscato d'Asti, isn't overly saccharine.
Presto Moscato Dolce's perfect for sipping solo, although I can't wait to try this at an outdoor concert, accompanied by brie, bread, and Summer fruit. Given that it's available nationwide at Whole Foods for around $10, I'm sure I'll be giving it another whirl soon. What's your favorite picnic wine?
What would you say is the fastest-growing grape in the country? If you guessed Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, or any of the other usual suspects, you're wrong. The answer's muscat, the sweetly fragranced grape that's often the bane of any drinker who's sworn off sweet wines.
That's right: according to AC Nielsen, muscat is the fastest-growing grape variety in the United States, and even global brands like Yellow Tail have caught on. The Australian wine company's newest label is its 2011 Moscato. As a longtime moscato d'asti lover, but a recent critter wine skeptic, I wasn't sure what to expect. The results were pleasantly surprising.
The wine, while relatively straightforward, managed to be incredibly peachy and floral without tasting soapy, then had a nice level of acidity and a small amount of effervescence to balance out the body and sweetness. "It'd be wonderful with sorbet," one taster commented. I instantly envisioned serving it in a Champagne coupe with a just-frozen-enough scoop of pear sorbet on top. For $6.99, you can't find a better value in this category. Muscat lovers: what's your favorite moscato frizzante?
Despite the fact that many guests in Aspen had a chance to hit up the tasting tent five times, the last 30 minutes of the last Grand Tasting on Sunday rapidly deteriorated into a crowded, debaucherous food and wine free-for-all. In the midst of it all, we stumbled upon an Australian wine table that had been completely abandoned: there the whites and rosés sat, on ice, ready to be enjoyed, but there was no one there to pour them. It was as though the whole wine team suddenly took off, afraid they would miss their 15-hour flights back to Australia.
As the old adage goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure. While we still had the time, we dug into quite a few varietals. The most beautiful to stare at and to drink turned out to be the 2009 Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato ($10 for 375 ml) from Victoria, Australia. I've long loved the sparkle of a good Moscato d'Asti, but I'd never before come across a sparkling pink Moscato. The combination of Muscat Alexandria and Black Muscat contribute to the ballet slipper hue, and the wine is wildly easy to drink, with a floral-spicy perfume, red fruit flavor, and long, lingering, well-rounded finish. I can't wait to seek it out here in San Francisco. Have you ever had a sparkling pink Muscat?
Nothing is more perfect on a picnic-friendly day than a giant bowl of panzanella, or Italian bread salad. Traditionally, the resourceful Tuscans stretched day-old bread by using torn pieces to soak up the liquid in a tomato, cucumber, onion, and basil salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
But Italian chef Chris Cosentino takes panzanella in a different direction by putting a dessert spin on it with Summer stone fruits and a luscious zabaglione flavored by Moscato d'Asti. The result is a lighter, fresher version of bread pudding. Can't decide between a sweet and savory bread salad? Then make both. For the recipes, read more.
If you're looking to expand your wine horizons, you might want to consider a light dessert wine called Muscat. A white grape varietal that's grown all over the world in wine-making regions from South Africa to Serbia, the Muscat grape is known for its highly perfumed floral aroma. Typically speaking, Muscats are fortified wines with moderate sweetness and a slight effervescence.
One Muscat I recommend is Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi's 2008 Moscato. At just $8, this is a great bottle to start with. The grapes are grown in California, and the liquid is pale yellow with a fruity flavor and silky finish; the bouquet has notes of honey and orange. This lush white is enjoyable alone after dinner, paired with flaky pastry desserts, or with cheese and fruit.
Have you ever sipped Muscat? What's your favorite bottle?
While perusing the massive wine section at Berkeley Bowl, a bottle of Tintero Sori Gramella Moscato d'Asti ($11.99) caught my attention. I've always been a huge fan of Moscato d'Asti, a wine made in Italy's Piedmont region from the fruity, floral Moscato Bianco grape. It falls under the category of a frizzante wine, which is effervescent but has less fizz than typical sparkling wine, with an accompanying sweetness.
This particular wine possesses all the attributes that I love about Moscato d'Asti: It's reasonably priced, not overly bubbly, and, at 5-7 percent alcohol, won't get you too drunk too fast. It's an exceptionally well-balanced yet delicate wine.
The flavor reminds me of peach skins and Osmanthus flowers, and while it's sweet it's not syrupy at all — only refreshing. I can't wait to hoard Sori Gramella for this weekend's Oscars celebration. Have you tried Moscato d'Asti?