Sarantos Soft Press Moscato 2010

Moscato has quickly become quite the lifestyle product – one look at the press release that came with this wine confirms its priorities (low alcohol, wines that reflect a “way of life”). I hope this doesn’t appear cynical; although wine wankers (and I count myself amongst them) tend to revere authenticity and decry any hint of commercial reality, I’m resolutely in favour of wine styles that strike a chord with the mass market, if only because for some, perhaps, Moscato might be a gateway drug into a much wider world of wine. Even if not, I’m the first to admit some of these wines are damned refreshing and have found a place in my life.

This particular example is reasonably priced (not always a given) and stylishly packaged. It’s quite low on the spritz, which I regret a little because the varietal character of these wines can be a little cloying, and CO2 can help to cut through that distinctively sweet, grape-like character. The aroma here is actually a bit muted, with rich but subdued floral notes sitting alongside simpler fruit characters. On entry, tending towards fat, with quite rich fruit notes pushing aside subtleties of mouthfeel and flavour. No matter; there’s a lot here and it’s certainly easy to drink. The middle palate picks up a little with some textural influences that cut through the richness. Thins out through the after palate, which simply encourages another sip. Sugar levels are borderline for me, though I think ultimately well-judged with respect to the other elements, and should make for a pretty breezy experience.
I was thinking earlier today about fortified wines and how much I enjoy them. This, obviously, sits at the opposite end of the spectrum, presenting quite a different experience of enjoyment to no doubt a different target audience. No less worthwhile for it.

Sarantos Wines
Price: $A14.99
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

Oddero Moscato d'Asti Cascina Fiori 2008

On the drive back home from a dear friend’s 35th birthday dinner, my partner and I were discussing what we’d like to drink. Sadly, the restaurant had a 500% markup on their wines, so even the lowliest Australian imported viognier was going for $40, so we had a beer and decided to hold out for something better. What sounded good? Something festive, something without too much alcohol to make tomorrow morning a slog… so how about a Moscato d’Asti? Five per cent alcohol, enough sparkle to add some Christmas spirit, and… well, how’s it taste?The wine smells of clover honey, rich and complex, with hints of spearmint and hay. It does  seem just a bit more complex than most moscato d’Asti I’ve had, though, with just a hint of an alkaline dryness. Vigorously bubbly in the mouth, perhaps just a bit too much for my tastes, the carbonation recedes eventually to reveal a fantastically delicate, balanced wine, not overly sweet, with a slightly herbal quality that shows well against the soft, honeyed texture. The finish stays with you for a long time indeed, again with a spearmint-orange peel character that’s absolutely charming.Somewhat more expensive than supermarket Moscato, sure, but worth it? Absolutely.Oddero
Price: $15
Closure: Other
Source: Sample