6 Deliciously Sweet Muscat Dessert Wines


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Made from Muscat grapes, Muscat dessert wine (also known as Moscato in Italy and Moscatel in Spain and Portugal) has a floral aroma with a sweet, fruity flavour.

The best Muscat dessert wines pair well with sweet and savoury desserts. You can enjoy them with fruit tarts, pastries, ice creams and even flavoursome cheeses.

I have selected 6 Muscat wines, all made with Muscat grapes, representing a broad cross-section of the different regions and styles. Two are standard non-fortified Muscat dessert wines (ABV 5.5%), and four are the fortified variety (ABV 15% – 17.5%) enriched with wine spirit.

6 Best Muscat Dessert Wines

Packed with sweet fruity-floral Muscat grapes, the best Muscat dessert wines pair well with a wide variety of desserts and cheeses. Here are 6 Muscat wines to consider.

1. Saracco Moscato D’Asti

Saracco Moscato D'Asti
Credit: Saracco

Overview

  • Distiller: Saracco
  • ABV: 5.5% (11 Proof)
  • Country: Italy
  • Grape: Moscato Bianco Canelli
  • Colour: Straw
  • Type: non-fortified

Review

From 1900, the Saracco family under Luigi Saracco began planting Muscat grapes and selling the wine to vermouth makers. Under his son, Giovanni, the company shifted to selling their wine to Asti Spumante producers. 

It was only under Paolo Saracco, the present owner, that they decided to concentrate on making their own Moscato d’Asti. Like other Moscato, it should be drunk soon after bottling.

A classic frizzante (lightly sparkling) Moscato, Saracco produces this wine by gently pressing Moscato Bianco Canelli wines and keeping the must at below-freezing temperatures for months. When there is market demand, they ferment it in autoclaves, micro-filter and bottle it.

On The Nose

Floral aromas of orange blossom, peach, and thyme.

On The Palate

This wine balances sweetness and acidity with honeyed peach, orange blossom, berry, and light zesty notes, with some minerality on the finish.

Best Served/Pair With

Best served chilled as an aperitif, with desserts, or in wine cocktails. Pairs well with desserts, pastries and ice creams.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Quady Elysium Black Muscat

Quady Elysium Black Muscat
Credit: Quady

Overview

  • Distiller: Quady
  • ABV: 15% (30 Proof)
  • Country: USA
  • Grape: Black Muscat
  • Colour: Violet-crimson
  • Type: fortified

Review

Andrew and Laurel Quady relocated to the San Joaquin in 1975 to make wine. In 1983, a local grower brought them unwanted Black Muscat grapes originally intended for sacramental wine at a local, defunct church. Andrew Quady experimented with the grapes and created the dark Muscat expression he named Elysium.

A Black Muscat, Elysium is made from the rare Black Muscat grapes and produced by crushing and chilling the grapes to macerate, creating a full-bodied, fruity flavour. Wine spirits are added to halt fermentation, making for a sweet and high ABV wine.

On The Nose

Intense aromas of litchi and rose petals

On The Palate

Rich, dark, sweet plums and cherries with smooth chocolate notes and a slight tingle of sherry-like fruitiness.

Best Served/Pair With

It is best served with desserts that complement its red fruit and chocolate notes and works with rich cheeses. Try it in cocktails such as spritzers, Elysium Sour, and Black Muscat Royale.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Innocent Bystander Moscato Rose

Innocent Bystander Moscato Rose
Credit: Innocent Bystander

Overview

  • Distiller: Innocent Bystander
  • ABV: 5.5% (11 Proof)
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape: Black Muscat, Gordo Muscat
  • Colour: Rose
  • Type: non-fortified

Review

Innocent Bystander wines base themselves in the Yarra Valley in Victoria and make various wines, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They also grow Muscat grapes at Swan Hill and turn them into a classic Italian-style Moscato.

This elegant sparkling Moscato Rosé is made from Gordo Muscat grapes (63%) and Black Muscat grapes (37%) for a bright, fruity Australian take on the Italian Moscato wines. They harvest them by night and crush them with 6 hours of skin contact to extract the colour.

On the Nose

An intensely sweet and floral bouquet accompanied by berries and zest.

On The Palate

This sparkling Moscato has balanced sweetness with strawberry and peach flavours combined with gently spiced ginger and the sweetness of honey. 

Best Served/Pair With

Best served chilled and pairs well with summer berry desserts, pancakes with lemon, or a variety of blue cheeses.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Cesar Florido Moscatel Dorado

Cesar Florido Moscatel Dorado
Credit: Cesar Florido

Overview

  • Distiller: César Florido
  • ABV: 17.5% (35 Proof)
  • Country: Spain
  • Colour: Muscatel
  • Colour: Golden
  • Type: fortified

Review

César Florido Winery produces wines at three facilities in the historic centre of Chipiona in the Jerez region of Spain. They make both wines and fortified wines under the Denomination of Origin Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, the classic Spanish fortified dessert wine.

Cesar Florido Moscatel Dorado is fortified, made from overripe Muscatel grapes, and aged for 1-year using the Solera system method.

On The Nose

Sweet and fruity, this Moscatel reveals aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle with a touch of dark chocolate.

On The Palate

Soft caramel and fruity Muscat grape flavours with fruit liqueur overtones. It balances sweetness with an oak finish.

Best Served/Pair With

Best served chilled and pairs well with fruit desserts, blue cheeses, and pastries.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Hommage Muscat Beaumes de Venise

Hommage Muscat Beaumes de Venise
Credit: Hommage

Overview

  • Distiller: Domaine de Bernardins
  • ABV: 15% (30 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Grape: Muscat petit grain blanc, Muscat petit grain noir
  • Colour: Amber
  • Type: fortified

Review

Beaumes de Venise in the southern Rhone valley has seen Muscat wine production since the Roman days and is known for its production of sweet fortified wine. 

The Castaud family has worked Domaine de Bernardins, which formerly belonged to Bernardin monks, for 5 generations. They have secured AOC status for Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.

This French-style fortified Muscat is made from the esteemed petit grain Muscat grapes. They use black and white grapes, pressing and fermenting them without the skins and halting the fermentation process by adding a neutral spirit.

On The Nose

Aromas of rose petals and candied sweets.

On The Palate

Muscat Beaumes de Venise Hommage Domaine de Bernardins showcases distinct grape flavours, rose petals, strawberry, orange zest spice, and a sherry finish.

Best Served/Pair With

Best served lightly chilled and pairs well with a soft French cheese such as Camembert or Roquefort, with fruits and fruit tarts.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Quady Essensia Orange Muscat

Quady Essensia Orange Muscat
Credit: Quady

Overview

  • Distiller: Quady
  • ABV: 15% (30 Proof)
  • Country: USA
  • Grape: Orange Muscat
  • Colour: Light orange
  • Type: fortified

Review

Early in his wine-making career, Andrew Quady discovered the extraordinary Orange Muscat (Moscato Fior d’Arancio) varietal in Reedley, California. He set about making a wine that would show off the essential characteristics of the grape, hence the name Essensia.

Made from Orange Muscat grapes, Quady harvests their grapes, crushes them, and lets them macerate at low temperatures to draw out the unique flavours of the grape. 

They add wine spirits to halt fermentation and fortify the wine to 15% before ageing it for 3 months in used oak barrels.

On The Nose

Mild floral orange blossom and fruity apricot aromas.

On The Palate

Gently spiced fruity flavours of apricot and pear. The finish is clean, slightly crisp, but with a soothing sweetness.

Best Served/Pair With

Best served lightly chilled and pairs well with fruit desserts, biscotti, soft cheeses or toasted almonds.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

Seperator

Ingrid’s Top Pick

best Muscat dessert wine

Hommage Muscat Beaumes de Venise

My top pick is the fortified Hommage Muscat Beaumes de Venise because the fruitiness and mild spice and sherry finish work well with both desserts and cheeses.

Muscat Dessert Wine Q&A

Is Muscat A Dessert Wine?

Muscat wine is an ideal dessert wine and pairs well with sweet desserts, pastries, ice creams, plus hard and soft cheeses.

What Does Muscat Wine Taste Like?

Moscatel (Spain and Portugal) and Muscat Blanc (France) wines typically show honeysuckle, orange blossom, and apple peel notes. In contrast, Moscato (Italy) wines are intensely floral, showing rose petals, mandarin, and pear notes.

What Grape Is Muscat Wine Made From?

Muscat wine is made from Muscat grapes, a family of grapes with over 200 varieties. Most Muscat wines from these varieties are white, but many rosé or red Muscats are also available. 

What Types Of Muscat Wine Are There?

These wines are made somewhat differently, despite all originating with cultivars of Muscat grapes. The French wines are generally fortified and hence have higher alcohol by volume than the more traditional Italian Moscato wines, which are also often slightly fizzy. Muscat wines are also made in other regions, such as Australia, California, and South Africa.

Is Muscat Wine Sweet Or Dry?

Muscat wines are one of the sweetest styles of dessert wine available and popular entry point for people still getting into wine and pair well with dessert and cheeses.

How Strong Is Muscat Wine?

Traditional non-fortified Muscat wine is about 5.5% ABV, while fortified Muscat wine is around 15% ABV. All are made with Muscat grape varieties.

What Is A Fortified Wine?

Fortified wine (e.g sherry or port) is made using the same process as a standard wine, but it is enriched with a stronger wine spirit to stop the fermentation process and to increase the alcohol content. The Fortified wine is then usually aged in wooden barrels.

Conclusion

Whether you pair these Muscat dessert wines with sweet desserts or savoury accompaniments such as tangy cheeses, you will surely enjoy their fruity and floral character. There is one to please every Muscat dessert wine drinker.

I personally find the lower alcohol Muscat wines ideal when you want something lighter to pair with sweet desserts. The richer character of the fortified Muscat dessert wines brings out the best of cheeses and more intense dessert flavours.

Don’t forget to check out my article on the best Port for desserts & cheeses (8 Top Picks).

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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