Cheers Wine & Spirits

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Sunday, 31 May 2020
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Phil 2011/3/23

Moscato is an old grape that is regaining popularity; if you haven’t yet perhaps give this trend a try. While it is an ancient grape from Italy, named after the Italian word for muscat, it is by no means outdated. Muscat is believed to be one of the oldest varieties of grape in the world. In the past few years wine made from moscato grapes have soared in popularity as wine lovers rediscover this slightly sweet and aromatic variety of wine. It is sweet, light and hinted with citrus flavors; perfect for summer. This wine goes great with fruit desserts, or light and citrus hinted savory foods.

Moscatos are great for people who like a sweet wine without being overpowering. While not a largely produced wine, it is gaining some fans, and thus it is becoming more available. There is a difference between the classic Italian version and the commonly found California produced version. The Italian versions can be still or sparkling, (“Frizzante”) more like sparkling water than champagne. California Moscotos are more often than not still. So if you like sweet and smooth wines that are still light enough for the hot weather of the summer, give moscato a try.

Phil 2011/3/16

"Off-dry" is what now?

“Off-dry” in my opinion, is really a nebulous phrase. It’s supposed to tell you that the wine contains a bit of sugar, usually not enough to make the wine taste sweet, but definitely enough to make it taste fruity and round. There are many "definitions" that one can find for off-dry. I’ve seen it "defined" as 6 to 14 grams per liter of residual sugar but I’ve also seen it defined as 12 to 20 grams or 18 to 45 grams. That’s just people getting fancy with the spices. The bottom line is a wine that is off-dry has a little sugar left. And what exactly is "a little"? Well, that depends on so many things that no one seems to be able to define it!

One way to gauge how much sugar might be left in a particular wine is to take a look at the alcohol level of that wine. Every 10 grams or so of sugar in a liter of juice will convert to about one-half a degree of alcohol. If the same juice is both fermented dry as well as in an off-dry style with 20 grams of residual sugar, you can expect the off-dry version of the wine to have an alcoholic content about one degree lower than its dry counterpart.

The bottom line for me is there are many variables involved and while the above explanation is a rather inaccurate to rate a wine's sweetness, but sometimes it’s all you have to go on!