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By Mike Rosenberg
On the heels of the lovely package I received from Shannon Ridge, I received another small box a week later. Inside was a bottle of Martin & Weyrich 2010 Moscato Allegro.
My immediate thought was that this was an Italian wine sample, since I’ve rarely heard (and never tried) a Moscato from anywhere else.
I came to learn that this wine is not Italian, but comes from vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley. The growers of the Muscat Canelli grapes that go into this wine are Eric and Mike Shannon. “Too much of a coincidence,” I initially thought. A little research turned up that they and the aforementioned “Shannon Ridge Shannons” are acquaintances but not kin. Simple serendipity works around here just as easily. We’re flexible.
For those of you not familiar, Moscato is a sweet, slightly effervescent wine with extremely low alcohol content. When I say “low,” I mean about as low as possible while still being considered wine. Moscato Allegro clocks in at 7.5-percent alcohol. (By contrast, many California reds are north of 15 percent.)
My old pal Brian once commented, “You can drink it for breakfast,” when talking about Moscato. He’s absolutely correct. Moscato is a top choice of mine for a brunch complement — only a little below bloody marys and mimosas. (The SPinC makes the world’s best bloody Marys. I digress. …) The Moscato Allegro is an excellent addition to such a menu.
I don’t think it’s easy to make quality sweet wine. Too much residual sugar makes a wine taste like syrup — an unfortunate characteristic of much Moscato. Getting the balance right takes some care. That sort of care has certainly been applied here. The particular style of sweetness reminded me much more of fresh fruit than cane sugar. Big flavors of peach and citrus dominate here. The citrus notes are a nice touch, stemming from a relatively high level of acidity that cuts through the sweetness and makes the finish actually somewhat crisp. “Crisp” and “moscato” aren’t usually found in the same sentence.
At $10-12, it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for something to go with a morningish meal. Or just if you’re looking for something a little more on the sweet side.
Mike Rosenberg is a “Sommelier for the Common Man,” a regular guy with fifteen bucks worth of savoir faire and a nose for tasty food and wine. Learn about wine at his blog, The Naked Vine, and follow his culinary adventures at The Man Who Cooks – and here at Food and Fun at KyForward. Email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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