Choosing between Riesling vs Moscato wines is easy once you understand a few points about these grape varieties. As wine drinkers, it’s essential to start with the most crucial aspect: the flavor of wines.
Riesling vs Moscato: What Do They Taste Like?
Riesling vs Moscato wine grapes are often compared together because they tend to have a sweet taste. To be clear, all wine grapes have some natural grape sugars, but different wine regions and producers make grapes into drier or sweeter styles. There’s no right or wrong in styles – it is a personal choice. After reading this wine introduction, please pick up a few bottles of different wines and try them to see which ones you like the most.
Riesling Flavor Notes
In Riesling, the typical fruity flavor profile includes stone fruits like notes of peaches, apricot, apple, and pear. Normal Rieslings are typically not aged in oak, so do not expect oak-related flavors like vanilla, spice, and bread. Prefer to drink a creamy wine instead? I suggest picking up a bottle of oaked Chardonnay from California instead.
More practiced wine lovers can identify differences between off-dry Riesling, dry Riesling, and late harvest Riesling based on their orchard fruits, floral notes, and other qualities. This type of wine is quite flexible. If you like a low level of sweetness, choose a dry Riesling. On the other hand, the potentially overwhelming sweetness of a sweet Riesling can be fantastic with a dessert dish.
Moscato Flavor Notes
Moscato tends to be made as a sweeter sparkling wine. This sweet style wine is also known for its low alcohol content. The Moscato fruity flavor profile usually includes hints of orange blossoms, pear, lemon, and honeysuckle. While you can find both sweeter Rieslings and those made in dry styles, Moscato is known for its higher sweetness levels.
Higher sugar levels tell just part of the story for Moscato. This Italian wine is also famous because it is a low-alcohol wine. As a result, people who like light, fruity wines tend to enjoy this wine a lot. Enjoying this sweet style of wine on a hot summer day is one of the joys of summer. First-time wine drinkers often enjoy Moscato for its sweet tastes. It is a great introductory wine, especially on a hot day.
When To Choose Riesling over Moscato
When should you choose a Riesling over a Moscato wine? There are a few reasons. You might dry wines like German Rieslings, for example. If you grew up drinking white wines from cooler climates (e.g., German wines, Washington wines, New York wines, or Ontario wines), you might be more comfortable with drier white wines. Those who prefer a sweet wine should look for a beautiful off-dry Riesling instead.
Pairing wine with food is another reason you might like Riesling instead of Moscato. With Riesling, you have multiple options: ice wines, dry crisp wines, and dessert wines. There is a Riesling for you, whether you like low residual sugar or high sugar content.
Foods that pair well with Riesling include fish dishes. In addition, Riesling can pair well with spicy foods (e.g., Thai salad or Indian food) when made in a sweeter wine style. If you like spicy dishes and wine, you might want to try a semi sweet Riesling.
When To Choose Moscato over Riesling
Do you prefer wine with low alcohol by volume? If so, a sweet wine like Moscato glass is a good choice. That’s not all. The natural sweetness of this wine means it pairs well with dessert dishes like fruit tarts and other fruit desserts. Moscato is also a perfect match for a warm day. The most popular types of Moscato are also sparkling wine which makes it even more refreshing!
Unlike a high-alcohol wine, Moscato wine usually has around 5-7% alcohol content. As a result, this pink wine has fewer calories per glass compared to a higher alcohol wine. Wine Spectator points out that a standard serving of 5 ounces of wine has around 120-130 calories. A glass of Moscato is likely closer to 100 calories per glass. That said, if you are focused on weight loss, it may be wise to give up on all alcohol for a while.
Now you know how to make the Moscato vs. Riesling decision. Depending on your taste in wine, the season, and the food you’re eating, you might prefer one type of wine over the other. For example, you might want to sample several sparking styles of wine at the start of your meal and then switch to a sweet white as you start dessert.
Which Wine Regions Produce Riesling and Moscato?
Moscato wine is primarily an Italian wine. In particular, you can find this wine produced in northern Italy. The Italian region of the Piedmont area is one of the best places to look for. In particular, seek out frizzante to experience Italy’s famous sparkling wine. Alternately, look for Asti Spumante on the wine bottle label to find a bottle of this memorable sparkling wine. Moscato is produced outside of Italy in Australia, the USA, and elsewhere in Europe.
Riesling wines are produced all around the world. The natural home of Riesling is Germany, where the German nobility promoted wine. Riesling is particularly well suited for cool climate wine regions, including France (i.e., the Alsace region), Canada, and the Northern United States (e.g., New York Finger Lakes, Washington State). For something different, please pick up a bottle of South African wine and compare it to a bottle from a different country in a wine tasting at home. You can find fantastic Rieslings from old-world wine producers, especially in France and Germany. For fun, please pick up a bottle of top-quality Riesling produced in North America and compare it to a similar wine
Moscato vs. Riesling: Acidity Levels Comparison
Earlier, we covered alcohol levels and sweetness –one more area we need to consider: acidity. Like sugar and alcohol, acidity is a vital component of all wines. It all depends on your preferred taste of wine. A bone-dry Riesling on a hot day can be quite refreshing! In contrast, Moscato wines tend to have low or medium acidity.
Riesling vs Moscato In Summary
Moscato and Riesling wines are both excellent wines depending on the situation. Moscato is a great choice for those seeking a low-alcohol wine known for its sweet flavors. Riesling, however, is made in both dry and sweet styles. Each wine grape is made in multiple ways. With Riesling, you can enjoy a late harvest Riesling, for example, if drier Rieslings are not to your taste. With Moscato, you will typically have a low alcohol sweet sparkling wine most of the time.