Warm Weather Wine
● By Kathryn
Hard economic times haven’t slowed the flow of wine into US glasses. Even better, the Moscato varietal has actually experienced a surge in popularity and is being called the “gateway” wine for new wine drinkers.
Moscato belongs to the family of Muscat grapes, the oldest known domesticated grape, and includes over 200 different varieties. Described as a delicate, lightly sweet, and gorgeously fruity, low alcohol frizzante style; Moscato d’Asti is probably the most well known variety. Until recently it was produced in tiny batches and limited quantities by producers in the Piedmont region of Italy, according to Karen MacNeil’s, The Wine Bible.
Millennials, age 21 to 30, are playing a significant role in the current trend; Nielsen data indicates that more than half of Mosquito consumers are under the age of 45. Prominent Hip-Hop musicians, such as Kanye West, Drake, Waka Flocka and Lil’ Kim have influenced the market by name dropping “Moscato” into their songs. The affordable price of $6 to $20 a bottle is quite appealing to all markets.
With such an increased production of Moscato, we are certain to encounter some rare jewels and a lot of mediocre juice. Some of the best, lightly sparkling versions come from an area in Italy’s northern wine producing region, the Piedmont, including Mosquito d’Asti. Moscatos from this region will be light with an elegant effervescence that balances perfectly with the natural fragrance and aroma of the grapes making it more complex and food friendly.
Whether you’re looking for an aperitif, a dessert wine or a sweet value you’re certain to find a Moscato to fit the profile. Salute´!
Umberto Fiore, 2010 Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy
An appreciated and unique wine with half the carbonation of a typical sparkling wine. It has a brilliant transparency with an intense straw-yellow color. Extremely aromatic with a famously complex perfume and characteristic that’s sometimes sparkling or vivacious. Mild level of sweetness, counterbalanced by vibrant acidity. Pairs well with fruit, sweet cheeses, and sweet desserts like fresh berries and cream, pineapple, pastries and white chocolate. It’s a wonderful summer drink or an aperitif. Serve chilled.
Tarrica Moscato, California
Pale yellow in color and aromatic with fresh scents of peach, pear, apricot, star fruit and marzipan. Pleasantly sweet and slightly effervescent this wine is bursting with peach, apricot, ripe apple, pear, citrus and melon flavors. This easy drinking 100% California
Moscato is well balanced and offers a lingering and fresh finish. This Moscato is a great sipping wine or aperitif and is the perfect brunch wine. We have enjoyed this wine with an assortment of cheeses and fruits, honey-glazed ham, roasted duck with mandarin orange sauce, spicy Korean BBQ, grilled squab or grilled abalone with apricot walnut butter sauce, buttermilk marinated fried chicken, apple-wood smoked poultry, or a simple Asian chicken salad. For dessert, try apple streusel, orange sorbet, custard, Key lime pie or a fruit tart.
For most of us wine lovers warm weather is made for white wine to help quench the perpetual thirst that accompanies the heat. But red wine lovers need not despair. Pinot Noir is a perfect wine to sip during the summer heat.
King Estate, 2008 Signature Pinot Noir, Oregon
Bright ruby, with clarity and brilliance. Aromas of earth, mushroom, cedar, raspberry, spice, cherry, and leather. Flavors of cherry, strawberry, caramel, tobacco, and vanilla. Soft on the palate with velvety tannins, and a sweet smoky finish.
If you’re looking for something a little different to sip on in the summer heat, then look to Spain. The freshness and elegance of Spanish wines make them perfectly suited for warm weather. Spain is a prolific source of inexpensive reds, which also tend to be a great compliment to the summer barbecue.
Distinto, Bodegas Enguera, Valencia
Distinto, which means different in English, is organically grown and is composed of equal parts of estate-grown Tempranillo and Syrah. The wine is named ‘Different’, because unlike many of the wines from the region of Valencia, this wine is made by a family. Dark ruby in color, the wine has a lovely violet and blueberry-scented nose. On the palate the wine is soft and supple with no hard edges.
So, next the time you’re looking for a new wine to try, give one of these a shot. Any of these selections would be the perfect complement to a spring or summer day!
Article by Alicia Thigpen of aTavola Market Cafe