Innocent Bystander Moscato 2008

I’m a bit late to the Moscato bandwagon, not often craving this style of wine. But tonight, after a rather odd weekend, I felt like an uncomplicated drinking experience, so here we are. Certainly, the packaging makes me smile. Crown seals are quite snazzy-looking in their way, and the pink of this wine reminds me of rouge on the cheeks of an old china doll. So far so good.

A nose that is moderately expressive, fresh and, most of all, grapey. It’s grapey in the manner of overripe table grapes, with a couple of raisins thrown in for good measure. No great complexity worth pulling apart, so one is free to enjoy what is a straightforward aroma profile. Very much more of the same on the palate, with grapiness taken up a notch and accompanied by well balanced fizz, light acidity and enough savouriness to cut through the residual sugar. In fact, there’s a lovely clean after palate here, very much on the savoury side, that reminds me of high quality confectionery. A clean finish that somehow echoes orange juice.

Wendouree Muscat of Alexandria 04/05

An oddity. Wendouree, known for its distinctive reds, also makes this fortified wine from the Muscat of Alexandria grape (better known for its contribution to Nanna’s Cream Sherry).

A golden honey colour. The nose is fresh and somewhat grapey, with a lovely rich honeysuckle note, as much floral as sweet. There’s a striking, viscous texture on entry, very fresh, soft yet supportive acidity, more sweet florals and fruit. The mid-palate is again rich and full, with good intensity of flavour. The acid structure is very slightly rough, which I like as it adds some complexity and interest to what is a sweet and slightly spirity wine. In style, it’s far from your regular botrytis-affected “dessert sticky” wine, both lighter and fresher, and more obviously alcoholic. The fruit’s flavour profile is also quite different. The wine’s finish is satisfyingly long.

What I like most about this wine is the way it unfolds in the mouth, at once precise and voluptuous. I suspect this style will be “love it or hate it,” and from an objective point of view, it’s a simple wine with an oddball balance between its elements. But I like it. Perhaps I am a lush. Potential food matches are tantalising. I’m thinking something sweet yet not too heavy — just like the wine itself. Passionfruit sponge, oh my.

Price: $A25 (375ml)
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: March 2008