It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time we explored the underrated Chenin Blanc, and this time around we get to know another grape that tends to fly under the radar – Moscato.
About the Noble Grape Challenge
Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.
In the name of full disclosure I have to be honest with you – I don’t really like this grape. I find it too sweet and without much flavour to make up for it. But the completist in me says I can’t let that stop me from continuing with this challenge, especially now that I’m in the home stretch.
Now, as far as I can tell Moscato’s true home is the Piemonte in Northern Italy (also the home of Barolo and Barbaresco). In the Piemonte it’s often used to make Moscato d’Asti, a sweet, lower alcohol sparkling wine. As much as I love bubbles I have to admit I’m not a fan of most Asti wines – again the sweetness just doesn’t do it for me.
I’ve also seen Moscatos coming out of Canada, Australia, Argentina, the US, and New Zealand, which makes me think this grape must be pretty hardy to handle all those different climates. Judging by it’s typically lower price point I would also guess that it’s pretty cheap to grow and make. Regardless of where it’s made though, Moscatos are almost always fruit forward, aromatic, and on the sweet side.
The Test Case
Today’s test case is Jacob’s Creek Moscato.
Because I know I’m not a Moscato fan I thought this would be a great time to check out a smaller format. Wine in cans has been becoming more popular lately so we’ll see how a sweeter wine does when packaged this way.
- HOLY CRAP IT’S SPARKLING! (I know that many Moscatos are sparkling but I didn’t think this one was – BONUS!)
- It’s got a lovely pale straw colour, there’s a really nice warmth to it which I wasn’t expecting
- The nose gives up some orange blossom, white flowers (elderflower maybe?), some lychee, and something soft and green that I can’t quite pin down. Smells kind of yummy, actually (surprisingly…)
- My first impression of the palate is that it’s got some pretty bright acidity, which just might counter the sweetness enough for me to not hate this wine
- I get some really soft, lovely flavours of lychee, elderflower, honeysuckle, a bit of orange and mango, and maaaaybe a bit of passion fruit. Yum!
- The sweetness. Sigh. Yes, there’s definitely sweetness on this wine. BUT! Surprisingly (for me, anyway) I don’t mind it.
I’m so surprised that I don’t mind this wine! Often when I have sweeter wines I get a sticky, thick aftertaste, which is the main reason why I don’t like them. I think because the acidity is so high it keeps the sweetness in check, meaning I do not, in fact, hate this wine. This is a great surprise.
I don’t think I’m going to start buying full bottles of the stuff, though.
Next time on NGC – the ‘G’ wine, Gewurztraminer!