Is Moscato A Dry Wine: A Beginner’s Guide To The Italian Wine

Is Moscato A Dry Wine? Get the answers in this post
Tasting experience with a sommelier serving a glass of Moscato d’Asti (Muscat) sparkling wine in Alba (Piedmont, Italy)

Is Moscato a dry wine? That’s a common question that wine drinkers ask when in a wine shop, bar, or restaurant. The short answer is: it depends! There are sweet versions and dry versions of Moscato wine (there is also Grand Moscato). Lately, sweet versions of Moscato wine have become popular as a crowd pleaser.

Is Moscato Wine Sweet or Dry?

There is no simple sweet or dry answer because Moscato wine is made in various styles. In brief, you can find Moscato wine made in both a dry style and a sweet style. Keep in mind that there are more than two hundred types of Moscat grapes made worldwide. Even if you restrict yourself to the world of Italian wines, there are multiple Moscato Wine grapes on the market. To fully appreciate Moscato, it is helpful to compare it to other wines – start with this guide: Riesling vs Moscato: Which Should You Swipe Right On?

Dry Moscato Wine

A still Moscato wine (i.e., no champagne-style bubbles) is likely to be a dry style. Wine Folly points out that the aromatics (i.e., what you smell in the glass) are sweet. However, the wine itself is dry in style. Bottom line: most Moscato wine you find will be in the dry style.

Sweet Moscato Wine

In general, there are two types of sweet Moscato wine: sparkling and dessert wines. In the sparkling wines category, look for Asti Spumante (sparkling) and Moscato d’Asti (semi-sparkling) in the wine shop. To find the highest-quality version of these wines, look for the “DOCG” label on the bottle. DOCG is the highest quality level in Italian wines. If you’re looking for a different kind of sparkling wine, check out this guide to Italy’s famous sparkling wine: Prosecco vs Champagne.

The other type of sweet Moscato wine is a dessert wine. This type of wine goes well with dessert. Traditionally, pouring a small glass of dessert wine is an excellent way to end a meal. For wine drinkers less familiar with dessert wines, start with a small serving. If you have mainly enjoyed dry wines, it can be adjusted to enjoy sweet wine.

What’s Moscato’s wine profile?

To fully enjoy Moscato wine, it is helpful to know more about it. To understand what it tastes like, keep the following points in mind.

Fruit Flavors

Generally speaking, Moscato wine tastes like lemon, mandarin orange, pear, and orange blossom. Identifying these citrus notes is easier when you compare different wines. For more tips on comparing wines, choose a few different bottles (e.g., a Pinot Gris, a Moscato Blanco, and a Pinot Grigio) and plan a wine tasting at home.

Residual Sugar

Moscato wine is relatively high in residual sugar compared to some wines on the market. Residual sugar is a natural part of the wine-making process. Don’t like sugar in wine? Try these four low sugar wines instead.


When you consider the question Is Moscato a dry wine, it is wise to consider acidity. The wine has a relatively low acid. That means it may not have the same refreshing quality as a white wine with a higher acidity level. For example, a Riesling wine or Chablis is a good choice if you are interested in a more refreshing wine in the hot summer months.

Tip: Want to find an amazing quality Moscato wine from Italy? You could ask the resident wine expert in your wine shop for a suggestion. Alternatively, you could check the wine bottle label to see if the wine is DOCG. Wines that are labeled with DOCG meet high-quality levels. Yet, these wines are still accessible choices in terms of price.

What wines are similar to Moscato?

It depends on what you are in the mood for, so let’s look at a few kinds of Moscato alternatives.

White Wines

Wine lovers looking for new ideas at the wine shop, start with these affordable wines.


For a crisp wine, open a bottle of Riesling and pour yourself a glass of wine. This refreshing wine is a great choice! If you are focused on the sweetest wine, look for a late harvest Riesling wine. Those styles of wine tend to have a relatively high sugar level. The bright acidity of a Riesling wine is a crucial reason for this wine’s refreshing taste.


This white wine, made in Germany and other wine regions, is known for fruity aromas. Bright Cellars points out that it has been described as “tasting like a grape with a hint of rose.”

Red Wines

Whether you see yourself as a wine enthusiast or a wine snob, there are a few red wine alternatives to Moscato worth trying.


Produced in Italy, Lambrusco is a red wine grape variety associated with a light sparkling wine style. The wine pairs well with cured ham and goes well with turkey. Keep Lambrusco in mind if you are looking for something new to try at Thanksgiving. Lambrusco should be easy to find at $20 or less per bottle for those seeking out affordable wines.

Sparkling Wine

Want to explore the world of Italian sparklers further? Look no further than Prosecco. Even better, Prosecco can be a low-calorie option. Find out more in this quick guide: How Many Calories In Prosecco: Data From 4 Wines.

Moscato Food Pairings: What does Moscato go well with?

Moscato wine can be enjoyed in a few different ways. It is a popular choice to enjoy as an aperitif – a light drink to enjoy before dinner. With the following food combination ideas, you’ll enjoy your next bottle of Moscato even more.

Food Pairings For A Moscato Bottle of Wine

Knowing the answer to the wine question “Is Moscato a dry wine?” (a somewhat sweet wine) is just the starting point. It is also helpful to know which food pairings work exceptionally well with the wine.

Spicy Food (especially spicy dishes from Asia)

Moscato is a popular wine to drink with spicy food dishes. If you enjoy Thai food or Indian cuisine, Moscato wine is worth trying. In the Asian food category, the food combination of Szechuan cuisine and Moscato is a proven combination.

Cheese Pairings

Use the principle of contrast to select cheeses. To balance the relative sweetness of Moscato, look for cheese that has a salty or bitter quality. Specifically, enjoy soft cheeses like goat cheese and brie cheeses. As a wine lover, read “Big Macs & Burgundy” to learn more about the art of food and wine pairing. Learn more about this excellent book in my review: 10 Reasons Why “Big Macs & Burgundy” Is The Best Food Wine Pairing Book In The World.

As a white wine, Moscato wine may not go well with every kind of food. For example, rich meat dishes and heavy sauces would not pair well. Those kinds of foods are likely to overwhelm the wine completely.

Tip: You will sometimes encounter a blend of grape varieties with Moscato. Blending different types of wines is a common practice across the world. Generally speaking, a wine labeled as Moscato will have more than 50-60% content from Moscato grapes.

Now you know more about the Moscato wine, you can answer the question “Is Moscato a dry wine?” with greater accuracy. There is much more to wine flavor profiles than dry or sweet. It is also helpful to consider whether the wine was made in cooler climates or a warmer location like Sonoma County in California.

Is Moscato A Dry Wine: A Beginner’s Guide To The Italian Wine

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