Muscat is sometimes the same as Moscato, other times not. In the Piedmont region of Italy, a lightly sweet wine called Moscato d’Asti has a refreshing effervescence. In the French Alsace region, Muscat Blanc can be a very dry, aromatic white wine.
In California, Moscato can be Muscat Blanc or Muscat of Alexandria, or sometimes another grape like Black Muscat. Just to confuse the issue, many wineries tout wines made from a “musqué clone” of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
Try these great Moscato Wines from Sonoma County for some of the best quality Moscato wine in California. They’re listed from south to north, and the distance from the first to the last is about 54 miles.
Moscato in a Jacuzzi, what could be better? This family actually did invent the Jacuzzi whirlpool, turning back to grape growing and winemaking in later years. A grand stone winery situated south of Sonoma, Jacuzzi specializes in Italian varietal wines like Arneis and Sangiovese, and naturally has a sweet, perfumed Moscato on the roster as well.
The owners of the slogan “No Wimpy Wines,” makers of tooth-staining Zinfandel — that’s red, red Zinfandel — make a Moscato? Hey, they like to have fun at Ravenswood, and you’d better believe their slightly fizzy take on Moscato is a fun one. Ask the famously friendly, no-pretensions staff about it at the Ravenswood tasting room, just a few minutes from downtown Sonoma on a little country lane.
Experimentation is the name of the game at Imagery, an art-themed winery founded by Sonoma Valley’s Benziger family. Imagery’s 2016 Muscat Canelli joins their far-ranging selection of varietal wines in May 2017. Each bottle is labeled with a unique artist’s work whose only requirement is that the Benziger “Parthenon” appear in some guise in the frame. A fun place to explore in Sonoma Valley’s Glen Ellen area.
This little winery puts out great value Sonoma County wines from a former apple processing plant in Sebastopol. Tucked away on Barlow Lane (not the Barlow center, in town) off Occidental Road, this is a quiet little place that earns high praise: their dry rosé took the sweeps at the 2017 North Coast Wine Competition. They kept a little residual sugar in their Muscat Canelli, on the other hand, to enhance the floral aromatics of the varietal.
A centerpiece winery of the rambling Timber Crest Farms, perched just above Dry Creek Valley Road a little north of the Dry Creek Valley store and bar (a popular deli and pit stop), Kokomo has a varietal for everyone to taste in their barrel room tasting bar. Seek out their Dry Creek Valley Timber Crest Vineyard Muscat Blanc to find out how nuanced and bright this wine can be —with exotically-scented bergamot aromas plus a lemon peel twist and grassy acidity, it’s almost like a foxy Sauvignon Blanc.
The darker side of Muscat is Black Muscat, a cross of Muscat of Alexandria. Known for their Fumé Blanc and mountain-grown “Super Tuscan” style wines, this picturesque Dry Creek Valley winery grows their Black Muscat on one of their Russian River Valley ranches. This definitely dulcet wine is made in a dessert style, headily perfumed and intensely purple.
Written by Sonoma Insider James Knight.