Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Muscat or Moscato, in Asti from northern Italy is another grape that many people associate with sweeter style wines. This is often the case, but I want my readers to be aware of drier styles as well. Once again, Alsace, France is a good place to seek out dry styles of white wine that may otherwise be traditionally thought of as sweet. In Alsace, the wines are light to medium bodied, with floral aromas, and grape flavors, yes grape. Many of these are harvested late with heavy sugar ripeness that equates to a fuller body, but still a dry finish. Muscat from Alsace is only about 3% of the overall plantings, so these wines are challenging to find, and a financial commitment to try.
In Asti the wine is produced as a slightly sparkling wine. Often sweet, with aromas of peach, apricot, honey, and grape. The bubbles help offset what might be a syrupy sweetness though, and they sip delightfully. They are a great aperitif wine, and they pair well with many appetizing foods. Asti is a wine that I find many people write off as simple, those people are missing a great opportunity to experience spicy foods with a perfect pairing. Moscato d'Asti is actually one of the most pedigreed and protected D.O.C.G. regions and grapes in all of Italy.
We produce the grape domestically as well. In the United States we can expect a fuller body, higher alcohol content, and the winemaker will choose to ferment to sweet, semisweet, or dry based on their particular preference.