Moscato d’Asti is breakfast wine. Have it with your Weetabix at 7.00am and take the edge off the day. Or don't... liquid breakfasts are fun too.
It is also the most serious frivolous wine I know. Am I being glib? Very well, then I am being glib.
I was reminded of this recently when drinking an old 2011 vintage Moscato d'Asti. It had evolved, the fruit is now less primary, and has faded to a beautiful background grapiness. The wine had taken on Riesling-like notes, with petrol and weight and gorgeous complexity.
That Moscato ages beautifully shouldn’t surprise us. As Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains it is one of the noble grapes of Alsace, afforded some of the greatest Grand Cru vineyard sites in France.
The problem is that it’s too good. Younger wines, such as from Cà ed Balos, are sweet and neckable, lushy fruited with streaky acidity and low alcohol. It cries for another glass. Or bottle. Over time the sugar and fruit integrates with the acid, and tertiary flavours come through in the way of the world’s ‘great’ sweet wines. All the while costing you ten quid and five years.
Moscato is silly value. Love it in the morning, but tuck it away if you can. Past breakfast at least. It is large, it contains multitudes.
by Oli North