Moscato wine - long associated with the ancient Muscat strain of grapes - is a light dessert wine typically flavored with peach and orange blossoms. If you'd like to try this wine, here are some of the best bottles currently on the market.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Honesty and integrity are extremely important to our rating process. If you think we're just trying to sell products in exchange for a kickback, you'd rightfully doubt the fairness of our rating process. As part of earning your trust, we'd like to take a few moments and explain how we selected the Moscato wines that appear on the list below.
We knew from the start that we wouldn't be able to taste every bottle. Curiously, this is not because of the price (which is the usual impediment to testing). Moscato is an affordable wine and may sell for less than $10 per bottle. The real problem was having enough professionals to taste this much wine - it's not healthy for only a few people to drink that much alcohol.
Instead, we decided to start our list by locating some of the best-reviewed bottles on the internet. This sharply cut down on the number of bottles we'd need to consider.
Next, we rated each of the remaining bottles by a selection of different criteria, including how available they are and how well-known the winery is. Moscato's explosive popularity means there are still a lot of small wineries that haven't made a name for themselves yet, and we felt it was better to give points to locations with a reputation for quality and a history of a successful business.
After all, if you enjoy a particular wine, chances are you'll want to rebuy it in the future - established wineries are more likely to release the same product each year.
Finally, we sorted the remaining products by their unique traits. You can only do so much with a cask before it's not Moscato anymore, but we like seeing creative flavors and ingredients.
Moscato wines come in five major types - and knowing the type you're getting is important.
If you find yourself enjoying the flavor of Moscato, try to get a bottle of each type. You may find that the other varieties are even better than the popular sparkling variants. Alternatively, you can use Moscato in various recipes to add a distinctly sweet flavor to glazes and desserts.
How To Store Moscato
Once opened, Moscato should be stored in the fridge. Be sure to pump the air out of the bottle if you can (wine stoppers capable of this are sold separately and highly recommended). Stored properly, a bottle will last for about ten days after opening. Any longer than that and the quality can't be guaranteed.
Remember to drink responsibly. Moscato has low alcohol by volume, but if you drink a large bottle or two, that's still a lot of alcohol. If you're not enjoying your bottle at home, have a designated driver ready to take you back.
Top 9 Moscato Wines
Here are the Moscato wines that made our final list.
#1: Castello del Poggio Moscato
This Italian-made Moscato offers a friendly, vibrant aroma of peach and citrus. The overall flavor is similar, adding in fruity flavors like apricot and tangerine to balance out the overall acidity. Most buyers feel it pairs well with savory dishes like BBQ, spicy foods, and pasta.
With 7% ABV, Castello del Poggio Moscato is less alcoholic than most wines and therefore easier to enjoy a large glass of. We particularly recommend sipping it throughout a meal to cleanse your tongue and refresh your sense of taste before the next bite.
This drink usually retails around $15 per bottle - which is on the high end for Moscato, but still more affordable than many other wines.
#2: Ecco Domani Moscato (2011 vintage)
Ecco Domani sells this wine in an attractive blue bottle that's hard to miss on the shelf. The 2011 year is important - the winery doesn't release Moscato every year, so other releases in this line may have a noticeably different taste.
This particular wine is light and refreshing, with tropical fruit aromas and a generally floral personality. At 8.5% ABV, it's a little more alcoholic than our #1 choice, but it's still light enough to enjoy in a good-sized glass.
Try to keep the bottle in good shape if you can - the blue color makes for a fantastic vase. When available, it retails for around $12 per bottle, making it a bit more affordable than our top choice.
#3: Beni di Batasiolo Moscato d'Asti Bosc dla Rei (2013 vintage)
Here's a hard name to pronounce unless you're a native speaker - but don't let the length fool you. This authentic Italian semi-sparkling bottle showcases local D'Anjou pear and red apple flavors for a delightfully fruity drink. It starts semi-sweet, then continues through your mouth to a full finish.
We think this Moscato is best enjoyed in smaller amounts over a few days (to stop it from going bad once opened). It has a low ABV at just 5.5% - meaning the alcohol is barely noticeable compared to the other flavors - and retails for around $16. If you can't find a 2013 bottle, the 2017 vintage is an acceptable substitute.
#4: Ceretto Santo Stefano Moscato (2010 vintage)
Another authentic Italian release, this Moscato is pricier than most at around $20 per bottle - which, let's be fair, is still several times less than some other popular alcohols on the market. It features flavors of passion fruit, honeyed peach, and candied fruit, with good overall acidity and balance to stop it from being too sweet.
This isn't a dessert wine, but it works well as one when paired with a fruit-flavored treat (such as a pie, sorbet, or meringue). The 2010 vintage is 5.5% ABV, but a little harder to find than some of the more recent releases. That said, it's also better than the 2013 and 2015 bottles, so get the correct year if you can.
#5: Cupcake Moscato (2013 vintage)
If there's any dessert that matches the personality of Moscato, it's probably cupcakes - light-hearted and fun, with surprising flavors at a low cost. This is a California wine (instead of a product of Italy, as many Moscatos are), with a strong palate of pineapple and peach. It can be enjoyed on its own, or paired with a tart dish to balance out the flavors.
Expect to pay around $13 for a bottle of this wine. ABV varies a bit by year but usually hovers around 5.5%.
#6: Saracco Moscato d'Asti (2013 vintage)
Back to Italy, Saracco's Moscato d'Asti is one of the easiest to find in the region. With prices around $14 per bottle, it's in the middle of the range for a decent Moscato. This is particularly good as a general-purpose wine. While the light body, semi-sweet flavoring, and refreshing fizz make it a good choice for drinking on its own or pairing with fruit, you can also enjoy it alongside hotter Asian or Cajun foods.
At 5% ABV, it has even less alcohol than most of the drinks on this list - well below the average of 11.6% for wine, although still a little higher than the 4.5% of beer. If you enjoy this particular bottle, we recommend getting a few more. Saracco has released several more yearly vintages of this wine, and they're acceptable substitutes for the 2013 bottles.
#7: Sutter Home's Pink Moscato NV
This is one of the most interesting Moscato wines on our list. A product of California, Sutter Home's Pink Moscato tastes a lot like peaches and cream - and smells the same. At just $6 per bottle, it's also one of the most affordable Moscato bottles currently on the market... and it's widely available at local retailers.
The one thing to be aware of here is the intense sweetness of this wine. It's sugary even by the standards of Moscato, so it's best when sipped or paired with something to reduce the impact of all the sugar. We recommend buying this in person if you can - shipping for wine bottles can double or triple the price of these affordable drinks.
#8: Barefoot Moscato NV
Did you think the Sutter Home Pink Moscato was affordable? Well, Barefoot Moscato is even more so - averaging just $5 per bottle. This is arguably the single best bargain brand currently on the market, though we still like the pink color a little more. Expect to taste peach, apricot, and citrus in each bottle of this, with plenty of bubbles to make drinking it more exciting. Try pairing it with cheese or lighter desserts.
If you enjoy it, Barefoot also sells this in larger bottles for about $10 - still a great deal, and you'll be getting more to drink than you would with any of the bottles on this list that are usually in the double digits for their price.
#9: Innocent Bystander's Pink Moscato (2011 vintage)
It might have been inevitable for wine with a name like this to come out of Australia - a land not as known for wine grapes as Italy and California, but interesting all the same. The flavor of this particular drink includes strawberries, cream, and rose petal. The sweet fruit flavor is quite intense, and a gentle fizz follows it throughout the mouth.
The 2011 vintage is excellent, but a little expensive at about $17 per bottle. If you can't find any, the 2013 and 2017 vintages are a good substitute. For more fun with this drink, try soaking various seasonal fruits as you enjoy it throughout the day. Watermelon and strawberries are a particularly good choice.
Castello del Poggio Moscato
Ecco Domani Moscato (2011 vintage)
Beni di Batasiolo Moscato d'Asti Bosc dla Rei (2013 vintage)
Ceretto Santo Stefano Moscato (2010 vintage)
Cupcake Moscato (2013 vintage)
Saracco Moscato d'Asti (2013 vintage)
Sutter Home's Pink Moscato NV
Barefoot Moscato NV
Innocent Bystander's Pink Moscato (2011 vintage)
Should I Balance It?
That's a good question - and in most cases, you should. The golden rule of pairing wine with food is that you should try to achieve balance with it. Since Moscato is particularly sweet, it goes best with foods on the spicy, sour, salty, and bitter sides of things - unless you're pairing it with a sweet dessert, anyway.
Moscato can be hard to pair appropriately with main courses. It tends to go better with brunch or appetizers. Alternatively, you can enjoy most Moscatos on their own. People often buy this as an affordable sipping wine that can be enjoyed all day long (supported by the low alcohol content of each bottle).