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TIP OF THE DAY: Try A Bottle Of Moscato Wine

Nearly two thousand years ago, the Roman author Pliny the Elder (23 C.E. – 79 C.E.) wrote in his Natural History: “The Muscat grape has been grown for a long time in Beaumes [in France] and its wine is remarkable.”

Call it Muscat in French or Moscato in Italian: Today is the first National Moscato Day, celebrating the “remarkable” wine. The holiday was declared by Gallo Family Vineyards, producers of excellent and very affordable Moscato.

By establishing National Moscato Day, the Gallo family hopes that you will raise a glass and get to know this delicious wine.

The wine is already on a roll: Moscato sales in the U.S. continue to grow faster than any other wine varietal, increasing by 74% in 2011 alone. You can pick up a bottle of Gallo Moscato for about $5.00. How can you resist?

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*The Gallo Moscato is so inexpensive because the grapes are grown in Australia, where land is plentiful and cheap.

WHAT IS MOSCATO WINE?

Moscato (mow-SKAH-toe) or Muscat (MOO-skaht) is a white wine grape. The wines, slightly sweet and low in alcohol, are often served with dessert. However, their ability to pair with other foods—and Americans’ penchant for sweet beverages like soft drinks and White Zinfandel—is bringing Moscato to the forefront in the U.S.

 

The next time you want a glass of white wine, reach for the Moscato. Photo courtesy Gallo Family Vineyards.

 

According to Uncork.biz, the Muscat grape is the world’s oldest cultivated grape variety. It may have originated in the sultanate of Muscat and Oman† on the southeast Arabian Peninsula.

The Muscat grape found its way to Rome and was brought by the Roman Legions to Gaul (encompassing present-day France). Over the centuries, it was planted in regions as disperse as the Crimea (Russia) and South Africa. Early Spanish and Italian immigrants brought it to America. In 1844, it arrived in Australia—the source of the grapes for the Gallo Family Muscato.

The Moscato grape is widely grown in Italy, where it is vinified into still and sparkling wines. Asti Spumante and its semi-sparkling cousin, Moscato d’Asti, are made in the Piedmont region, the northwest corner of Italy.

Moscato is light bodied and low in alcohol—meaning that most people can have a second glass without overdoing it. The wine’s perfumed nose and lush palate burst with the seductive flavors of peach, honey and citrus. The fresh aciditity and delicately sweetness enable it to pair well with a broad variety of foods.

†Muscat and Oman was a country that encompassed the present day Sultanate of Oman and parts of the United Arab Emirates.

 

Moscato with a dessert of fresh fruit and a mascarpone dip. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

 

13 OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE MOSCATO

  • BRUNCH. If you’re looking for a brunch wine, look no further. Moscato pairs well with breakfast pastries, eggs, pancakes and other brunch foods.
  • COCKTAIL MUNCHIES. Charcuterie, prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks and olives provide a salty counterpoint to the slightly sweet wine. Simple bruschetta is also a perfect pairing.
  • CRUDITÉS. The crispness of raw vegetables pairs well with Moscato.
  • CHICKEN & FISH. Moscato is delicious with lighter chicken and fish dishes.
  • CREAM SAUCES. Mild cream sauces pair well with Moscato.
  • DESSERT. While Moscato is far less sweet than dessert wines such as Muscat Beaumes de Venise or Sauternes, it has enough residual sugar to work with many desserts. We had it last night with cheesecake and the night before with sorbet. Be sure to try it with biscotti, creamy desserts and nut-based desserts.
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  • FRUIT. A snack or dessert of fresh fruit—or a fruit pie—is an occasion for Moscato. Peaches are a perfect match with this peachy wine.
  • HAM. Here’s another fine sweet-and-salty pairing, whether it’s a baked ham dinner, a ham sandwich or ham-based canapés.
  • PICNICS & POOLSIDE. Moscato is an ideal wine to sip poolside or relaxing at a picnic.
  • SALADS. Want a glass of wine with your lunch or dinner salad? Grab the Moscato.
  • SHELLFISH. Sweeter wines like Moscato are a favorite pairing with crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops and a raw bar.
  • SPICY FOODS. Gewürtztraminer and Riesling have long been recommended wines for spicy foods. The slight sweetness complements the heat and spice. Now, add Moscato to the list, to pair with Asian, Indian and other hot cuisines, along with spicy Western dishes such as Spaghetti Arrabbiata.
  • WINE & CHEESE. Uncork a bottle to serve with cheese. The peach and citrus flavors are a great match for soft or hard cheeses, from Brie (including baked Brie) to Pecorino Romano. Serve it with the dessert cheese plate: Brie and figs with a glass of Moscato is simple yet sophisticated.
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    Do you have a favorite way to serve Moscato? Let us know.

      





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