Hot weather in Tennessee heralds the arrival of white wine season, and there are more delicious options than ever. One grape varietal that is getting a lot of attention these days is Moscato. The light, bright, sweet wines made from this grape come in a variety of styles, and they are custom-made for hot Tennessee summers.
While we are more likely to see white Moscato here in the States, Moscato is a very ancient grape that has mutated into many different colors -- from white, yellow, pink, and red to a nearly-black color. Like Riesling, Moscato is an ‘aromatic varietal,’ a fact that is apparent with one sniff of its intoxicating floral aromas. White flowers like jasmine, honeysuckle, and orange blossom can be found in the “nose” of Moscato wines, as well as hints of spice and stone fruit like peaches, nectarines and apricots.
The “palate” or taste of Moscato wine brings more stone fruits with delicate floral hints, as well as orchard fruits like pears and apples.
These flavors are carried by a beautiful, light sweetness that is nicely balanced and simply irresistible.
You can easily find mass-produced Moscato these days, but why not try some of the more unique, smaller-production labels? Delicious domestic Moscato can be found as close as Arkansas, with family-owned Post Moscato ($10.99). Foris Moscato out of Oregon ($14.99) makes a beautiful, elegant Moscato with the slightest hint of sparkle. For a simply gorgeous, orange-blossom tinged California Moscato, try Quady Electra ($16.99).
Northern Italy makes stunning wines with a light fizz or “sparkle,” so Moscato d’Asti from the Piedmont region is always a great choice as well. I like Mia Dolcea ($12.99) and Primo Amore ($14.99), but honestly, you are unlikely to choose a bad wine from this region. Asti Moscato wines are light, floral, delicate, and simply delightful on a hot day.
And let’s not get too stuffy with our Moscato this summer, folks! There’s no need for a proper wine glass by the pool. Enjoy these beautiful wines on ice if you like, or even make a spritzer with some club soda and fresh fruit. A drink like this is even more refreshing if you choose a Moscato that is sparkling.
Speaking of fruit, Moscato is an excellent choice for pairing with a variety of summer desserts. This wine has a special affinity for summer fruit and berries, so enjoy some with your strawberry shortcake, cobblers, or perhaps even try a fruit sherbet “float” with some Moscato.
So whether you choose white, pink, or red, sparkling or still, Moscato is one of my top picks for summer sipping. Enjoy!
Jennifer Wolkonowski is a wine professional specializing in consumer education. A long-time Mount Juliet resident, she is currently a private consultant and owner of Vin Fine Wine & Spirits. For more information, you may reach Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.