There have been a couple of sample bottles of Moscato sitting in my cellar for the better part of the year. Aside from providing a spider with something solid to attach its web to, they've been completely ignored. I just haven't been able to bring myself to open them - prejudices and all that. So, when a PR rep emailed to see if I had had a chance to open her bottle, I relented.
Moscato, a sweet white wine with a honeysuckle effervescence, has been glorified by hip-hop recording artists Nelly, Soulja Boy,
Drake, and others of late. Actresses, models, and wannabes have launched their own Moscato labels, hopping into the pan to partake in the flash. Thanks in part to those advantageous product placements, sales of Moscato doubled in 2010 and grew by nearly 75% in 2011. Yowza.
Does this signal our declining national palate? Not at all. First, all the new Moscato drinkers were drinking something else before they discovered this sweet elixir, and you can be sure it wasn't oak-free Chardonnay. If we can agree that a wine drinking society is a more enlightened society, then shifting drinkers from Colt 45 to Sutter Home is a step in the right direction. Hey, we didn't all start out drinking Opus, did we?
Second, while the idea of sipping on a white wine with high amounts of residual sugar in the summer heat might sound as appealing as the hangover from hell, there's a different way to approach it: this could be your summertime alternative to port.
And that's exactly what came to mind as I sipped on the 2010 Moscato Allegro from Martin & Weyrich ($10). Served very chilled, this is a perfect round-out to a grilled meal, especially if you're serving it with a fresh berry dessert. Wild botanicals, essence of honey, and loads of super-ripe, full-frontal fruit are offset by a pleasing, subtle dab of acidity - all the characteristics you want in a good postprandial beverage.
So, while you're not likely to catch me ordering a glass of Moscato at the local dance club, you might just find it on the dinner table amongst the detritus of a good meal.