Moscato Versus Moscato d’Asti: What’s the Difference?

Featured in hip-hop songs and even making an appearance on reality TV, Moscato is the white wine that younger generations can’t get enough of right now. But before heading out and picking up a bottle or two, it’s important to know that there are different types of Moscato. Depending upon your preferences, you may want to discover the differences between two of the most popular—Moscato and Moscato d’Asti. 

What Is Moscato Wine?

Moscato wine is an Italian dessert wine derived from Muscat wine grapes. It is light, sweet, and low in alcohol. Moscato’s flavor profile includes notes of lemon, mandarin orange, pear, orange blossom, and honeysuckle.

Moscato d’Asti is a close relative but not a twin to Moscato. Instead, it comes from the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains strain of grapes, one of the oldest known varieties of wine grapes grown in Italy’s Piedmont region. Moscato d’Asti wine is sweet and dry with a light, fizzy quality, not unlike Champagne. A glass of Moscato d’Asti will present notes of grape juice, vine peaches, elderberry, and sage.

California vs. Piedmont, Italy

While Muscat grapes are grown around the world, California is the mecca of Moscato production. Pink Moscato from California is particularly popular. 

Conversely, Moscato d’Asti is made exclusively in the Piedmont region of Italy, where only small vineyards produce small batches of the varietal. 

Still vs. Sparkling 

Moscato is a still wine while Moscato d’Asti is a semi-sparkling wine. However, unlike Champagne, Moscato d’Asti does not go through a second fermentation in the bottle. Instead, the second fermentation is performed in a single tank using the Charmat method, in which bubbles are trapped in the wine via carbonation in the tank. 

Muscat Grapes vs. Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains Grapes

Muscat grapes are actually a category of wine grapes with multiple varieties. The two most often grown are Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria. The first is known for its small berries and seeds and its aromatic properties. While considered less aromatic, Muscat of Alexandria is also sweet and used primarily for producing dessert wines. 

What Foods Pair With Moscato and Moscato d’Asti?

Because Moscato is sweet, it pairs particularly well with spicy foods to create a flavor balance. Serve Moscato with curries, barbecue pork, and shrimp or with dishes created with exotic spices such as turmeric, saffron, or ginger. It is also an excellent dessert wine.

Moscato d’Asti is a light wine that is well suited to accompany savory snacks such as fresh salami, figs, and melon, as well as hot, spicy dishes, particularly Indian food. You can also serve it with sweets and desserts.

Which Moscato and Moscato d’Asti Wines Should I Try?

If you want to sample Moscato and contrast and compare with Moscato d’Asti, we know a few lovely bottles to try. Adorn Moscato is made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes and hails from California. Graced with melon, apple, and pear flavors, you may also detect notes of honey and citrus.

If you’d prefer a Moscato d’Asti, we’d suggest Natale Verga Moscato d’Asti from Italy made with Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains grapes. Refreshing and semi-sparkling, you’ll appreciate its notes of peach, orange blossom, and almond. 

Try either one or both, and you’ll soon discover what all the fuss is about.