Spring Fling

Muscat is a wine that celebrates spring. It’s one of the most perfumed grapes in the world, splashing vivid aromas of peaches, orange blossom and hard spice. It’s made in myriad styles—you could structure an entire meal around these wines from the low alcohol, lightly effervescent Moscato di Astis, to the dry, baroque Alsace Muscats, to sweet wines that run the gamut from light textured to dark, sherry styles.

Dry Muscats are wonderful with trout and ham while sweeter styles are heavenly with fruit desserts, especially those with sour cream or cream cheese. They’re reasonably priced for wines with such a vibrant personality and are eminently social wines.

Elio Perrone, “Sourgal,” Moscato di Asti
Italy, 2008, $20
The aroma of this gentle sparkler seems windborne, with apricot and cardamom scents. Enjoy outdoors with lox and cream cheese and salty smoked almonds.

Yellow Hawk
Columbia Valley, Washington, 2008, $19
This dry style shows some Sauvignon Blanc like citrus and heft. Muscat spice and fruit, however, emerge on the finish making this a playful companion to coconut curries.

Weinbach “Reserve”
Alsace, France, 2007, $38
A grand, dry style with a decided mineral component to the stylish fruit. Great with trout and almonds; even better with prosciutto-wrapped melon.

Jorge Ordoñez “Malaga 1” (.375mL)
Spain, 2006, $15
Sweet and luscious; a basket of ripe peaches and honeysuckle. Not cloying though; a current of acidity brings focus and zest, making this ideal with strawberries and mascarpone.

Michael Kwas is wine director at L'Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.

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