Moscato

There are a handful of wine grape varieties that go by variations on the name “Moscato” or “Muscat.” The most common—a small-berried sort known worldwide for the lightly sweet sparkling Moscato d’Asti that it makes in Italy’s Piedmont—is also known under its French alias: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. It doesn’t always produce dessert styles; but even dry wines give off an effusive sweet-fruited aroma and can be overtly floral, even reminiscent of chamomile. It’s also known for its role in some serious fortified wines from France’s Roussillon and southern Rhône. Still, there’s an undeniable charm in the low-octane Piedmontese Moscato that put the grape on the contemporary wine-drinking map. Adventurous drinkers like Food & Wine’s Lawrence Marcus know it has “many applications beyond dessert.”

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