Moscato is one of the most approachable styles of Italian wine. Most Moscatos are light and sweet with the perfect amount of effervescence, making them easy to pair with a wide variety of foods – not to mention dessert!

Muscat Grapes

Moscato is made with Muscat grapes, which are believed to be one of the oldest grapes in the world due to their wide varieties and strains. The grape is grown around the world and is also blended to make a wide variety of many other wines.

Muscat grapes are intensely aromatic with bright notes of jasmine, peach, honeysuckle, pear, orange, rose, and interestingly enough, even a grape flavor! Many say that you can literally smell grapes when standing in Muscat vineyards. This is not a surprise as Muscat grapes have a unique chemical compound in them called linalool, which gives the grape a unique floral quality. This same compound is found in many plants and spices, including mint, citrus flowers, and cinnamon.

Moscato d’Asti vs. Asti Spumante

There are many different types of Moscato produced around the world, like Pink Moscato from California and Moscatel, a sherry made with Muscat grapes, from Spain. In Italy, there are two primary styles of Moscato – Moscato d’Asti DOCG and Asti Spumante DOCG.

Muscat vineyards in Piedmont.

Both can only be produced in northwestern Italy in a region called Piedmont with 100% Muscat Bianco grapes. In Piedmont the soil has an optimal blend of limestone and sandstone that promotes a healthy level of hydration for the vines, resulting in highly flavorful and aromatic fruit.

Moscato d’Asti is a semi-sparkling wine with softer, more nuanced bubbles. These sparkling wines are typically sweeter with a lower alcohol content than their counterparts. To achieve the light bubble quality, fermentation is prematurely halted, causing the alcohol content to remain low and leaving behind more sugars than many other wines.

Asti Spumante is a fully sparkling Moscato. The fermentation period of these wines lasts longer, increasing the alcohol content (although still typically lower than other wines) and resulting in a dryer-style Moscato.

Versatile Pairing Potential

Moscato is known for being a sweet wine, with many designating it as a dessert wine. It does have a distinct sweetness, but this is balanced by its zippy acidity and a clean minerality. Paired with a low alcohol content, Moscato has a wonderful ability to complement many dishes.

The sweetness and acidity of Moscato make it an excellent partner for seafood starters. At Osteria IL Centro, a glass of Moscato is especially complementary to the Shrimp Carciofi. The shrimp is not overpowered by the Moscato and the lemon butter sauce is enhanced by the corresponding citrus notes in the wine.

Chicken Walnut Pasta

Moscato’s notable sweetness may seem too much for enjoying alongside your entrée, but it actually has a delightful ability to elevate flavors you wouldn’t expect. For example, Moscato matches the sweetness in the Chicken Walnut Pasta with creamy Gorgonzola sauce, yet balances it with crisp acidity.

And, of course, Moscato and dessert have always gone hand in hand. At OIC, Moscato partners beautifully with most every OIC dessert, notably with the famous Gelato Ball. The rich fruitiness of the raspberry sorbet remains light and fresh with a Moscato pairing.

If you’re curious about Moscato, come explore the style at OIC! Osteria IL Centro's Reserve Wine List has several Moscatos available and the OIC wine-by-the-glass list features Sarracco Moscato d’Asti, a favorite among Moscato enthusiasts for its tangy acidity and notes of yellow stone fruit, wild herbs, and strawberries.

Make a reservation for this evening and come try out your own Moscato pairings with the delicious dishes of Osteria IL Centro!

Do you have a passion for wine? Then you should join Osteria IL Centro's Wine Club! Membership is complimentary and members receive various perks, like exclusive invitations to wine-tasting events, special case discounts, and more!

Click here to sign up for OIC's Wine Club!