Tag Archives: Moscato

Spring Wine Pairings

As spring approaches, many people tend to prepare fresh, light meals over the heavy winter comfort foods. If you think your lighter fare is limited to white wines, think again. There are plenty of spring foods that pair incredibly with a wide range of wines. Below, check out some of our favorite spring wine pairings.

Fruits and wine

Fresh Fruit
Pairing fresh fruit with wine might seem a bit difficult at first due to the inherent sweetness of fruit, but it can be done. Whether you’re serving fresh fruit on its own simply sliced, or incorporating it into a dessert like a strawberry tart, there is a wine that you can pair it with. The most general rule about pairing wine and fresh fruit is to pick a wine that is even sweeter than the fruit you plan to eat. Picking a wine that is sweeter than the fruit you’re serving ensures that the sweetness of the wine won’t be lost in the fruit and will still be able to shine. Another option to consider are wines that have floral notes, as these tend to become more pronounced when paired with fruit. Try an effervescent Moscato, a sweet Riesling or a Gewurztraminer with notes of rose. If you want a little bit more bubble, choose a sparkling wine, like Lambrusco or Schiava.

Honey baked ham

Honey-Baked Ham
Easter falls on March 27th this year and there’s a good chance your family is going to purchase a honey-baked ham, or that you will prepare your own honey-baked ham. Honey-baked ham is both sweet and deliciously fatty, so you need a wine that has enough acid and sweetness to cut through the fat. Pinot Noir is a perfect pairing for honey-baked ham because it features sweet fruits, like luscious cherries. Another wine that pairs well with honey-baked ham is a Rose that doesn’t have too high of an acidity and that also does not have strong flavors of oak.

Salad and wine

Leafy Greens
Salads and other green vegetables are a huge part of spring menus and they do require a bit of thought when it comes to wine pairing. Acidity is important when picking a wine to pair with a salad; you want the wine to have more acidity than the salad you are serving so that the wine doesn’t taste flat. Generally, white wines are a better option than red when pairing with salads. Many spring salads include greens like kale, which has a bitter taste, so you want to avoid pairing a kale-based salad with a red wine. However, there is an exception: If you are serving a steak salad, a light red wine would be an excellent pairing. Wines that feature “green” notes like bell pepper work perfectly with leafy greens. Consider a Sauvignon Blanc, Lambrusco or Verdejo wine to serve with your fresh spring salad.

Lamb and wine

Lamb
Lamb is another popular meat for spring dishes and it happens to be one of the most wine-friendly meats there is. Choosing your wine pairing for lamb ultimately depends upon the type of seasonings you use or the dishes you make. For instance, an Irish stew featuring lamb, root vegetables and herbs like rosemary or thyme pairs wonderfully with country red wines, such as a complex, but not too tannic, Cotes du Rhone Villages wine. Cuts like leg of lamb or rack of lamb are frequent choices for Easter dinners, and there are many wines to choose from for this pairing. Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, cru Beaujolais or a dry Rose are all excellent pairings for leg or rack of lamb dishes.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to pairing wine and food is to drink what you like and flavors that you are attracted to. Spring foods, which tend to feature fresh, earthy, sweet and succulent flavors, pair well with a wide variety of wines. Spend some time exploring different flavor combinations to find your absolute favorite spring pairings.

All About the Moscato Grape

Moscato grape

Moscato wine has been growing in popularity for a number of years, but many do not regard this wine as a classic or prestigious wine. Moscato wine is produced using grapes from the Muscat family, a family of grapes that includes over 200 varieties. Muscat grapes have an interesting, rich history and are highly regarded for their “grapey” aroma. Learn more about the Muscat family of grapes below

History
The origins of the Muscat grape are not entirely clear, although some believe that these grapes date all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Persians. More commonly it is thought that Muscat grapes originated with the ancient Greeks and Romans and classical writers like Columella and Pliny the Elder describe a grape that was very sweet and attractive to bees, but there is no historical documentation to confirm that the grapes written about were actually Muscat grapes. English Franciscan scholar Bartholomeus Anglicus provided the first documented mention of wine made from the Muscat grape in his De proprietatibus rerum, written sometime between 1230 to 1240.

While some wine connoisseurs discount the Muscat grape and do not regard it as a great international classic, it is worth noting that the history of Muscat grapes is far richer than that of the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a highly regarded wine grape.

Characteristics and Important Varietals
The Muscat family of grapes contains over 200 different grapes, but all feature the distinct “grapey” and floral aroma notes. One of the most unique aspects of the Muscat family of grapes is that these grapes produce wine that actually smells and tastes like grapes. Anglicus’ description of a grape that was attractive to bees is one of the characteristics Muscat grapes share. Insects are often attracted to grapes in the Muscat family because they have a heady, slightly musky scent and an impressive ripeness.

While Muscat grapes encompass more than 200 types of grapes, there are a few key varietals that are used predominantly in winemaking. The three most common types of moscato wines, and the grapes responsible for them are:

  • Sparkling Moscato d’Asti – This style of moscato wine is most popular in Italy, where it is referred to as Moscato d’Asti. This sweet, bubbly wine is incredibly aromatic, has low alcohol levels and is made using the popular Muscat Blanc (also known as Muscat blanc a Petits Grains). Another version of this wine is pink Moscato d’Asti, which is also produced using the Muscat Blanc grape. To give pink Moscato its color, Merlot grapes are blended with the Muscat Blanc grapes.
  • Still Moscato – Still Moscato is a less common version of wine that is produced using Muscat Blanc or the Zibbo grape and is a white wine. Some still Moscato wines are made to be completely dry and have a high alcohol content with levels that reach close to 12 percent alcohol by volume.
  • Dessert Moscato – Dessert Moscato wines are typically made with Moscatel grapes (also known as Muscat of Alexandria). Orange Muscat grapes are also used in the production of these wines that feature a thick, oily texture with a deeper white or tawny color. Dessert Moscato wines are made in the South of France, Southern Spain, Australia and the United States and often use oak aging during production.

Moscato wines are most commonly sweet, light and refreshing white wines. Their distinctive grape aroma and taste set them apart from other wines and their fruit profiles blend perfectly with the grape flavors. No matter what Muscat grape is used to produce your favorite Moscato wine, it is sure to be a fresh, fruity and vibrant treat.