Best Moscato Wines to Look for on the Restaurant Wine List

I was about to start writing about drinks for the holidays, it is December after all, and people are looking to brew up some eggnog.  But I thought, let’s go against the grain – what’s one of the biggest trends right now in wine (even in these cold winter months for some of us)… Moscato! I started looking at Google search trends and two things immediately popped up in rising popularity, Fruity Alcoholic Drinks and Moscato. In fact, searches for Moscato and best Moscato wine have surged 1550%.

The Super Quick Primer to find the best Moscato

Moscato (or Muscat) wine is usually sweet, fruity, and sometimes bubbly, made from Muscat Blanc grapes. Though usually sweet, its low alcohol (5-7% ABV) and the light flavor profile makes Moscato more than just a dessert wine.  Grown all over the globe, you can find Moscato d’ Asti in Italy (the sparkling variety), pink Moscato in Australia or still Muscat in California. Oak aging is common for dessert Moscato, and it pairs great with a wide range of dishes, from many types of Asian food to desserts.

Best Moscatos to Look for on the Restaurant Wine List or at Home

I can’t give you the best, that’s personal preference, but here’s some suggestions worth a try depending on your taste.

  • Castello del Poggio Moscato Provincia di Pavia – from Piedmont, Italy, tastes of apricot, peach and exotic fruits. Very refreshing and easy drinking.
  • Earl Stevens Mangoscato – Looking for something closer to home, this California Moscato has notes of apple, citrus and mango. Sweet, but not too sweet.
  • Saracco Moscato d’Astï – For sparkling, this is an approachable and respected wine, served cold and very refreshing
  • Quady Electra or Essensia Orange Moscato – Looking for a dessert wine, these orange Muscats are delicious and pair great with desserts.

Improve your Restaurant Wine List with Moscato

On this blog we’ve talked many times about how restaurants should expand their dessert wine selections (see Do’s and Don’ts of a Good Glass Pour List and some suggestions for Digestifs). We even mentioned it as an upcoming trend at the end of 2014 as consumers look for wines with a lower alcohol content. It brings the meal and dining experience full circle while also providing an opportunity for incremental beverage sales. Many casual chain restaurants have been on top of the curve, even more so than upscale or fine dining restaurants in some cases. For example, Olive Garden and Carrabbas offer multiple options of Moscato. You’ll find customers raving online about those selections as well. What’s been so surprising is the popularity of these wines even off-season, so even December isn’t a bad time to add Moscato to your list.

Josh Saunders