High-end Moscato. That seems to be an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Here in the U.S., especially, when you want cheap, sweet and sparkly—or, in the hands of a mixologist, perhaps a dash of elderflower liqueur or infused with sliced strawberry or a muddle of blue & black berries to create a bestselling cocktail at the latest hipster joint—Moscato is a go-to fruity, bubbly white wine. Snobbery is impossible when it comes to drinking Moscato. And that’s the point—youngsters today have a bullshit radar like no other past generation and reject pretentiousness in all forms, especially when it comes to hanging out and drinking. It makes perfect sense, then, that Moscato (along with Prosecco) would be one of the most popular types of wine in the millennial age.
So, what to make of a high-end Moscato like this 2013 MARCARINI Moscato d’Asti? Shall we call it a Moscato made for the upwardly mobile millennial hipster? Hold on, it’s not expensive at around 15 bucks, but it’s not 7 or 8 dollars either, like you can find plenty of at the big chain grocery stores. We’re talking a 100% step-up in price here. It’s also made in Piedmont, that noble but friendly and artisanal northern region of Italy, and not made in Ceres, California, home of Two Buck Chuck. What you do get is an incredibly enjoyable wine—luscious, bright, energetic apricot jam, dried pineapple flavors and the crisp acidity of green apple along with effervescent bubbles and froth along the edges—made with care, pride and loving craft and a higher level of artistry than you would ever expect. In DJ-speak, let’s say this is the work of a Danger Mouse vs. Calvin Harris. One makes decent pop hits, but the other one makes mixes that blow your mind. –J.M.
Great Wine: I Balzini White Label Toscana