Top 9 Moscatos for the Holidays

Stock your shelves with these fine Moscatos for the holidays


Moscato has been on fire as of late. The combination of modest alcohol, often between 5 percent and 10 percent, noticeable sweetness, and a bit of fizz has found an eager and thirsty audience. Of course, there is Moscato and there is Moscato; many a producer have jumped on the bandwagon hoping to ride it to fame and fortune, while others have been working with this often under appreciated variety for decades. The question of course would be; Is there any difference?

From a pricing standpoint, the range is quite modest. Ranging roughly from somewhat under $10 to perhaps just over $20, this is a narrow enough band to allow even casual consumers to check things out for themselves. After personal inspection of these wines, allow me to offer a few suggestions. The less expensive wines are often perfectly serviceable, gently sweet and the fruit lacks the complexity or the lush creamy texture that distinguishes the finest Moscatos. I would generally opt for paying a few dollars more to get the best, and the best continue to come from Italy, Asti in particular. It's simply a matter of terroir and experience one would think, so I can see other great Moscatos emerging in the future, but most are not there yet.

Moscato is a perfect wine for the holiday seasons. It’s incredibly festive and works spectacularly well as an aperitif, or with desserts and cheese. Adding it to your table is like adding a glass full of the summer's finest sunshine to your dark winter day, so get out there and pick some up today. Sharing a bottle with your friends and family will be both greatly appreciated, and greatly rewarding as you finally find a wine to please everyone. Interestingly, I've included two oddball wines in this report: a still Moscato as well as a sparkling Malvasia, which resembles Moscato but is a little less fruity and drier. The particular example I tried was delicious and a nice change of pace. It also comes in an attractive bottle, making it an ideal gift this holiday season.

Moscato image via Shutterstock

2010 Coppo Moscato d'Asti Moncalvina 5% $15

Sweet honey dipped peach, pear and orange aromas fill the glass topped with hints of Earl Grey tea. Sweet in the mouth but anchored by fine acidity, this delivers a lovely array of bright and vivid orchard and citrus fruit flavors all topped with a hint of dried herb in a seductively creamy package. Soft yet persistently effervescent with a creamy citrus finish. A bit opulent perhaps but excellent. 90pts

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NV Albino Armani Moscato 1607 Veneto Italy 7% $15

Clean and crisp on the nose with sage and lime rind top notes to the core of apricot fruit. With rather effusive bubbles, this seems nicely light on the palate but it is packed with apricot, lemon and melon fruit flavors. A bit drier than expected, this has a faint creamy edge and finishes with juicy acidity and lime flavors. A fairly serious Moscato if there is such a thing. 89pts

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NV Cavicchioli Malvasia dell'Emilia IGT Italy 8% $13

Subtle aromatics on the nose show off almost medicinal base notes with pithy citrus aromas. Subtle on entry, this shows off lovely lemon and lemon pith flavors with hints of pollen and herb stems adding complexity. Light, fairly dry, and tart on the finish, this is irresistible. The finish shows a hint of strawberry tops and minerals before fading into pithy citrus flavors that ends on a mineral finale. A sweet sparkler for adults. 88pts

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2010 Tenimenti Ca Bianca Moscato d'Asti 5% $15

Very herbal and lime tinged on the nose with a dry polleny aspect and hints of tree bark. On the drier side for Moscato with lovely dried orange peel and creamy apple flavors framed with a gentle nutty/honeycomb note. The backend shows some of that herbal quality found on the nose before a wave of quince jam drives this to a lean, focused finish. 87pts

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2011 Kenwood Moscato Zacchera California 12% $16

Very lemony and bright on the nose with a nice pithy underlay that adds a hint of bitterness to a bouquet that includes suggestions of flowers and blanched almonds. For a still wine, this is fairly sweet in the mouth, but delivers lovely peach and citrus flavors with that hint of pithiness from the nose serving as a counterweight to the sugar. Round, easy to drink, and fairly complex with floral accents in the mouth, this finishes with juicy acidity and a nice citrus note with mineral hints. Pure fun in a bottle. 87pts

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Moscato for the 2012 Holidays

1.
Coppo Moscato Moncalvina (2010)
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2.
Albino Armani Moscato 1607 Veneto Italy (NV)
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3.
Cavicchioli U E Figli Malvasia Amabile Vino Frizzante Bianco IGT Emilia (NV)
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4.
Tenimenti Ca'Bianca Moscato d'Asti (NV)
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5.
Kenwood Vineyards Moscato Zacchera (2011)
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6.
Riunite d'Oro Moscato Trebbiano (NV)
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7.
Red Tree Moscato (2010)
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8.
Folonari Moscato (2010)
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9.
Moscato D Asti Tenimenti Ca Bianca (2010)
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10.
Jacob"s Creek Moscato White South Eastern Australia Moscato (NV)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: swifty
    1167052 21

    What about Cinzano or Mondoro??

    Dec 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM


  • Do you know greek Moscato? What your opinion about it?

    Dec 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM


  • Snooth User: tammy8395
    668080 1

    BAREFOOT!!! both red and white moscato, 1500ml for less than $10 at Sam's. We drink it by the case loads...

    Dec 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM


  • Snooth User: janettamc
    132750 1

    You got that right!! Barefoot Moscato is delish!!! Love both red and white!!!

    Dec 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM


  • If you're a fan of Moscato d'Asti and you've never had La Spinetta, you're missing out. The Bricco Quaglia vineyard is my preference over Biancospino. First had it as the dessert wine pairing at French Laundry. It was the most memorable part of the meal for me.

    Dec 30, 2012 at 12:17 AM


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