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CHEESE PAIRING:
Epoisses
Camembert
Morbier
Asiago
Cheddar
Dry Jack
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This is another highly planted varietal – it has many mutations, but there are 3 main ones most producers use – that is not very well known and even less respected. Mostly because its' intoxicating perfume and overall sweetness are currently out of fashion. Even though it's one of the oldest recorded grapes, the wine world is not generally impressed. Being a lover of dessert wines, I can't resist its' heady aroma which delivers a ripeness unmatched, whether made dry or sweet. When done right, you don't need dessert. It's most common form is as Asti Spumante, which has a bad rap, but with its' low alcohol levels and touch of sweetness is the perfect accompaniment to dessert. The better versions – Muscat des Beaumes-des-Venise (dessert), Moscato d'Asti (sparkling/dessert) and the Australian Rutherglen stickies – are not only yummy to drink they show the wide range of styles this family of grapes is capable of producing.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A big, fruity, floral (rose, orange blossom) nose sometimes with musky undertones. Whether sparkling or dessert, the wine is marked by ripe grape and peach flavors. The best versions have enough acid to counter the overt sweetness. They are rarely subtle and usually medium to full-bodied, except for the Moscatos and Astis, which are light and fizzy in spite of their big flavors.


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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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