What does Moscato d’Asti taste like?

But the fact that so many writers reach for roughly the same descriptors gives us an indication that the common denominator of high-quality Moscato d’Asti is nearly always stone fruit and candied fruit.

Most, although not all, of the top Italian wine writers review and publish tasting notes for Moscato d’Asti. After all, Moscato d’Asti is one of the most popular wines in the U.S. And even though most of the people who drink Moscato d’Asti regularly don’t regularly read the  top wine publications in this country, most of the editors of the leading mastheads include it along with wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (partly because many Barolo and Barbaresco producers also make Moscato d’Asti).

For this week’s post, I did a very informal survey of some of the more widely read English-language wine writers who focus on Italian wine. What does Moscato d’Asti taste like to them? The excerpts that follow speak for themselves.

• “Ripe nectarine and candied pink grapefruit peel flavors in this bright and balanced Moscato.”
• “White peach, Thai basil and orange sorbet flavors.”
• “Candied lemon, blood orange granita and Thai basil flavors are backed by bright, citrusy acidity.”
• “Tropical mango and passion fruit flavors are accented by Meyer lemon and spice notes.”
• “Aromas of yellow stone fruit, chopped herb and a floral note of jasmine. The rich, bright palate doles out apricot, yellow peach, grilled sage and candied nectarine zest.”
• “Aromas of yellow stone fruit, citrus zest, aromatic herb and a whiff of honey. The rich palate doles out ripe apricot, yellow peach and candied lemon drop.”
• “Scents of yellow stone fruit and crushed herb. Mirroring the nose, the savory mouthwatering palate doles out juicy apricot, ripe yellow peach and sage.”
• “Ripe fruit flavors of apricot and candied orange peel.”
• “Summer peach, honeysuckle, star jasmine and yellow rose.”

sparkling moscatoOne thing that stands out immediately is stone fruit: Peach, apricot, nectarine. And peach in particular seems to pop up frequently: White peach, yellow peach, ripe yellow peach, summer peach, etc.
Another descriptor that seems to pop up a lot is candied fruit: Candied lemon, candied orange peel, candied nectarine zest. Tropical fruit and citrus also appear often, although they seem to take a back seat to the previous two (stone fruit and candied fruit).

Keep in mind that this was a very informal and unscientific survey of Moscato d’Asti tasting notes. But the fact that so many writers reach for roughly the same descriptors gives us an indication that the common denominator of high-quality Moscato d’Asti is nearly always stone fruit and candied fruit.

To that I’ll add freshness and approachability. But we’ll take a broader look at what great Moscato d’Asti should taste like in next week’s post on “How to taste Moscato d’Asti.”

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Jeremy Parzen
After obtaining his Ph.D. in Italian literature at U.C.L.A. in 1997, Jeremy Parzen moved to New York City where he shifted his focus to food and wine. By 1998, he was the chief wine writer for the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana. In 2005, he published his annotated translation of Maestro Martino's 15th century cookery book, The Art of Cooking (University of California Press). In 2007, he launched his blog DoBianchi.com (named after the Venetian expression for two glasses of white wine). Since that time, he has published countless articles on Italian food and wine, including bylines for publications like Decanter and Wine and Spirits, which named him a "Master of Place" in 2017. Known for his humanist perspective onto the world of Italian enogastronomy, he works as wine and restaurant industry consultant from his home office in Houston, where he and his wife Tracie (a native Texan) are raising their two daughters. A former rock musician and songwriter, Jeremy continues to compose and record music with and for his family. He was honored to be named an Italian Association of Wine Merchants ambassador in 2018 for his "profound scholarship in the humanities, his great knowledge of winemaking, and his excellence in communications."

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