Tag Archives: Dessert wines

¡Feliz #DiaDelMoscato! – Happy #NationalMoscatoDay!

9 May

Time to get your fiesta on, chicas y chicos!

Today is National Moscato Day, and to make sure you shine at the bar or dinner table tonight, here are three things to know about Moscato, and a yummy cocktail recipe from the fine folks at Gallo Family Vineyards. And for you smarty-pants out there, share your knowledge today during the #DiaDelMoscato Twitter party at  3 p.m. PST/6 p.m. EST. Be there or be cuadrado!

Now put on your drinking caps and savor these fun facts:

1. Moscato goes by different names in different countries. “Moscato” is Italian for Muscat, one of the oldest known grape varieties in the world. In Spain, it’s called Moscatel. Moscato is thought to be one of the few wines that actually tastes like the grape, and if you happen upon a Moscato vineyard, don’t freak out if bees and wasps are swarming the fruit of the vine. They’re drawn to the grape’s intoxicating floral and honey-like aroma and it’s decadent sweetness.

2. Moscato can be made in various styles. Moscato is one of the most versatile wines out there. You can have it sweet or dry, still or sparkling, or as a syrupy dessert wine. The wine can be white, pale pink or even red. If you love peach and citrus aromas, these are textbook Moscato scents.

3. Pair Moscato with fresh fruit, fruit-based desserts or spicy foods. Depending on which style of Moscato you’re drinking, there are mucho pairing options. A sweet Moscato can take the burn off of a spicy main course or complement the sweetness of fresh fruit or a fruit tart. A sparkling Moscato is an elegant aperitif and the perfect way to start a brunch.

OK, got all that? There’s a quiz later on. Not really. But here’s a delicious recipe from Gallo Family Vineyards you can enjoy today or any day of the year. ¡Salud!

El Full Disclosure: This is not an ad. And I did not receive free product or compensation for this post. I just like sharing mouthwatering recipes. Gracias, Gallo Family Vineyards!

GFV Moscato Mango Mojito

Moscato Mango Mojito

(serves 1)


1.25 ounces Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato
1 lime, cut into eighths
5 leaves basil, plus more for garnish
.5-teaspoon demerara sugar
1 ounces white rum
1.25 ounces mango puree or mango nectar

Muddle lime, basil leaves, and sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, then add the moscato, white rum, and mango nectar. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass Garnish with a basil sprig.


Is Moscato the new Chardonnay?

18 Jan

Those of you who were of drinking age in the 1970s (and–ahem–for the record, I was not) may recall the stratospheric rise in popularity of Chardonnay. Like the band ABBA, Chardonnay had its heyday in the 70s and still enjoys  a hard-core fan base.

Mamma mia! I admit that I'll still sing out loud when Dancing Queen plays on the radio. (credit: musicwallpapers.net)

Mamma mia! I admit I’ll still sing to “Dancing Queen.” (credit: musicwallpapers.net)

But musical tastes evolve, and so, my friends, does wine.

Moscato, worshipped by some and reviled by many for the same reason–its sweetness–is topping the charts these days. Not a gathering goes by where I don’t encounter a gaggle of groupies who rave about Moscato’s naturally sweet character, versatility and intoxicating floral and fruit aromas.


Make a sweet day even sweeter with a pink Moscato toast.

Is Moscato the new Chardonnay, or to drag out my musical metaphor, is Moscato to Chardonnay what Air Supply was to ABBA?

Señorita Vino took this question to the experts. Read what they had to say–and learn some basic facts about Moscato–in my most recent article for Latina Magazine’s fab food and wine website, TheLatinKitchen.com.

And tell me, are you a Chardonnay kind of wine lover, or does Moscato rock your world?

Sweet Tooth – Latin American Dessert Wines

4 Jan

Nothing says ‘New Year’ like resolutions. Once again, Señorita Vino has trotted out the usual suspects:

1. Lose 10 pounds

2. Trim the belly

3. Tone the thighs

And all of this while eating cheese to my heart’s content and indulging in my nightly glass of vino.

Because  self-denial is not my middle name, I have come to the conclusion that sipping a dessert wine is far less dangerous than having an actual dessert. Case in point–I recently celebrated a birthday and bravely offered the complimentary, candle-lit brownie to Señor Jim. Meanwhile, I ordered a glass of Tokaji, the legendary Hungarian dessert wine, and heralded this next year of my life with a honey-sweet toast.

Forget the brownie. Nothing says 'happy birthday' like a glass of Tokaji.

Forget the brownie. Nothing says ‘happy birthday’ like a glass of Tokaji.

Hungary and France are not the only nations that boast exceptional dessert wines. Argentina and Chile are producing some rockin’ sweet sensations, and here for your reading and sipping pleasure is an article I wrote for TheLatinKitchen.com on Latin American dessert wines. Take a look and let me know what you think!

In the meantime, I’m accepting applications for Surrogate Exerciser.

Vino 101: What makes a wine taste sweet?

19 Jul

There’s a perception that people who like sweet wines are somehow lesser beings than those who like their wines bone dry. Chicas y chicos, Señorita Vino thinks this notion is a bunch of estiércol (That’s polite español for B.S., and we’re not talking about the B.S. for which you paid exorbitant tuition).

Pairing tip: Your wine should be sweeter than your dessert.

If you like your wine sweet, you’re still a rock star in Señorita Vino’s world. And because you rock, I am about to arm you with a very basic, easy-to-digest explanation of what makes some wines taste sweet.

First, a quick primer on the terms we use to describe the sweet (or not sweet) taste of wine. From least sweet to sweetest, a wine is either dry, medium dry, medium (sometimes called medium-sweet), or sweet. En español, the terms are seco, semiseco, semidulce, and dulce. There are standards to determine which category a wine falls into, but we won’t get into that today.

Dessert wines are known as ‘stickies’ in Australia.

Wine can taste sweet for a variety of reasons including alcohol and winemaking techniques, but we’re gong to focus on something known as residual sugar, which, simply stated, is the grape sugar left over after fermentation. Remember–wine, in extremely basic terms, is fermented grape juice. And fermentation is what happens when yeast is added to the juice squeezed from grapes. The hungry little yeasties eat the natural sugar from the grape juice, and the result is carbon dioxide, heat, and…(drumroll)…alcohol! Generally speaking, the sweeter a wine tastes, the higher the alcohol content.

Because Señorita Vino loves you so much, here’s some extra ammo to protect yourself if a wine bully disses you for enjoying sweet wine: Some of the world’s finest wines are sweet. Yep, they’re known as dessert wines, and they go by the name of Sauternes, Tokaji (pronounced TOAK-eye), or ice wine. There are others, of course, but you may hear about these more often.

Dessert wines are extra-sweet because the sugar in the grape is more concentrated at the time the grapes are picked. If you see the words “late harvest” on a wine bottle, chances are that wine will taste honey-sweet. If you’re wondering how the sugar in the grapes gets concentrated in the first place, here are the three most common ways:

1. Noble rot. This is layman’s terms for botrytis, the Glinda the Good of the fungus world. This gray, ash-like mold grows on grapes from vines located in certain climates and causes fluid to slowly evaporate out of the grape, leaving behind more sugar. Grapes with noble rot are used in making Sauternes, one of France’s best known dessert wines. If a guy treats you to a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes, he’s a keeper. And if you toss him, I want his number. Kidding. Señorita Vino is happily married. And Señor Jim, if you want to make me happier, a half-bottle of Chateau d’Yquem should do the job.

A classic pairing: Blue cheese and Sauternes dessert wine.

2. Cryoextraction. Cryo-whaaat? All this means is juice extracted from frozen grapes. Ice crystals are separated from the crushed frozen grapes, leaving the good stuff (sugar) in the juice. Canada and Germany produce some of the world’s finest ice wines (eiswein in German). Just remember that if someone orders ice wine on a first date, you definitely want to consider a second date.

3. Dried grapes. That’s right, chicas y chicos–raisins! Not the kind you buy at the grocery store, though. To make certain dessert wines, grapes are either picked late and dried out on straw mats, or they’re left on the vine until they shrivel. An easy way to remember this if you’re bilingual: The Italian word for dried grape wine is passito. Sounds like ‘pasita,’ or ‘little raisin’ in Spanish, ¿no?

And that, my darlings, is the skinny on sweet wine. Where do you land on the sweetness scale? Do you prefer the taste of honey, or do you like your wine dry? Is one better than the other? Do tell–I’m all ears!

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