Thursday, July 19, 2012
The best Moscato from California
Fortunately, there were a few exceptions, like the very expensive ($30) dry Muscat at right.
But many of these new $7 Muscats in the supermarket are awful, and not because they're sweet. I recommended a number of delicious sweet sparkling Moscatos from Asti, Italy and one frizzante one from California. There are some great dessert wines made from Moscato.
But the majority of these wines tasted like corn syrup flavored with cheap perfume. Some weren't even that good -- they tasted more like mouthwash blended with a huge pile of aspartame. More than once I walked away from a glass going "eww ... eww ... eww."
Why did I do this to myself? Because somebody paid me, of course.
My special report on Moscato for Sommelier Journal is out this week, but you have to either buy the magazine or pay $4 online to read the whole article. Sorry about that, but SJ has to make the big bucks they pay me somewhere.
But I will give you the unsurprising teaser that Heidi Peterson Barrett's La Sirena Napa Valley Moscato Azul is fantastic, and was the only bottle of scores that I tried that two of us had no problem finishing in one night.
That's the thing about sweet sparkling Moscato: even when it's good, a glass or two is really all you want. I know I can say that about you because you're reading a wine blog. I also know there are plenty of consumers who can drink sweet sparkling Moscato all night, but then there are plenty of people who can drink RC Cola all night. To each their own.
La Sirena is a Muscat for wine lovers, not necessarily for Moscato lovers, who might wonder where the sugar is. It's bright and fruity, has some complexity and fantastic balance and just keeps tasting more delicious. I love the blue bottle, I like the logo, but mainly I just love this wine. Barrett's wines aren't cheap; this is the easiest way to see what she can do. And you can order it from her online.
I have a friend, Susan A., who swears "Domo arigato Mr. Roboto" is the worst pop song ever released. That's a tough call. But commercial Moscato from outside of Asti, Italy might be the worst major category of wine I've ever tasted. That's why when I got a good one, this one, I spontaneously burst into "Domo arigato Mr. Moscato ... domo ... domo." With apologies to Barrett, who is nobody's Mr.