The Best Moscato Wines Have These Qualities
A Google search for “best Moscato wines” yields countless articles like, “the top 10 Moscatos of the year,” but what actually makes a Moscato worth drinking? Not only that, but what qualities make a Moscato wine the best Moscato – one worth enjoying time and again and sharing with others?
First let’s start with the basics. Moscato wines are made with Muscat grapes, of which there are more than 200 varieties grown all over the world, in shades ranging from white and orange to red, pink, brown and black. Muscat grapes are believed to be some of the oldest grapes in history, with origins tracing back to ancient Egypt. Muscat Blanc à Petite Grains (Muscat Canelli) and Muscat of Alexandria are the most common Muscat varieties grown today. Both varietals are used in winemaking, although Muscat of Alexandria is typically grown for table grapes and raisins.
“Muscat” is actually the French word for “Moscato,” which is Italian. The two words are equivalent around the world, but today, people in the U.S. expect that Moscato wines are usually lighter and lower alcohol than Muscat wines. This is likely due to the popular light, frizzante-style Moscato d’Asti wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. Quady Electra Moscatos are made in this same lighter, lower alcohol, frizzante style.
Muscat grapes have high residual sugar and low acid, creating a sweet wine with aromas of stone fruit like peach and apricot, as well as an orangey citrus with delicate floral notes. Moscato wines are made in a variety of styles, including sparkling, semi-sparkling (frizzante), still, pink, red and dessert wines.
Quady Electra Moscatos are made in the semi-sparkling style, while Quady Essensia Orange Muscat and Elysium Black Muscat are in the fortified dessert wine style. Regardless of what style a Moscato wine is made in, there are several characteristics that we think make a Moscato best and provide the most enjoyable experience sip after sip.
The best Moscato wines have grape skin contact with the juice.
For our Moscato wines, we crush the grapes into a tank and let the juice and skins sit together for various periods of time, depending on the wine we are making. Normally this does not happen in white wine making, and not in sweet wine making. It turns out, if you let crushed grapes “sit on the skins,” you can make wines with intense varietal character: meaning exciting and complex aroma and flavor. The Muscat grapes we use – Orange Muscat, Black Muscat and Muscat Canelli – are incredibly aromatic and make for some of the best Moscato wines when the grapes have skin contact with the juices.
The best Moscato wines have distinctive qualities like rare varietals.
It is rare to see Orange Muscat and Black Muscat as the predominant varietals in a wine. Black Muscat is itself a rare varietal. Much of the Orange and Black Muscat grown in California is used at Quady Winery. We value and know how to treat these distinctive varieties like no other winery.
The best Moscato wines have a balance of balance of sweetness and acid.
Imagine eating a ripe sweet peach: there’s a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity that is satisfying and stimulating. Our Moscato wines are sweet, and because we pay careful attention to the acid balance, they are satisfying and stimulating like perfectly ripe fruit. They are not cloying (overly sweet).
The best Moscato wines are naturally sweet with a slight spritz.
Quady Moscatos ferment very slowly at an extremely cold temperature; this preserves the natural sweetness in the wines and keeps CO2 dissolved, resulting in the slight spritz in our Electra Moscatos.
The best Moscato wines are made with only Muscat varietals!
You might be thinking, “Okay this is obvious,” but it’s actually a tricky one! In most cases, Pink Moscato is actually white Moscato with a small amount of red wine like Merlot added, and Red Moscato is usually a blend of white Moscato with other reds such as Zinfandel and Syrah. The red wines add color but they dull the aromas and flavors of the Moscato varieties, so you get a sweet wine that is unbalanced and less pleasurable. Quady Electra Moscato Rosé, a pink Moscato, and Red Electra Moscato, a red Moscato, are made with all Muscat varietals: Black Muscat, Orange Muscat and Muscat Canelli. This makes for highly aromatic wines featuring unparalleled Muscat flavors, balanced with characteristic Muscat sweetness and acidity.
Now that you know what qualities to look for in the best Moscato wines, you’ll be able to pick them out like a pro. Still unsure? It’s as easy as picking out a bottle of Quady Muscat and Moscato wines – we’ve taken the guesswork out of it so you can enjoy balanced, flavorful and aromatic wines no matter the meal or occasion. We would love for you to compare our Moscatos with any other on the market and let us know what you think! Reach out to us here with questions or comments, or find us on social, @quadywinery. Cheers!