Moscato is an extraordinarily aromatic, extraordinarily sweet grape that is used primarily to make sweet wines: Piemonte’s Moscato D’Asti and its more industrial cousin, Asti, and a host of Moscati Passiti from all over Italy. Few people make dry versions, and therefore when Gianfelice d’Alfonso del Sordo told me he was introducing a dry Moscato called Dammisole I couldn’t help but perk up my ears and ask for a sample.
I’m glad I did; it’s a very interesting wine, and while not bone dry — the sugar content of Moscato grapes is such that I rather think that it would be impossible to ferment it to complete dryness without running into problems with alcohol content (Dammisole is 14.5%) — it certainly qualifies as a dry wine, and will also I think be rather versatile, because the combination of fruit, interesting acidity, and slight sweetness will allow it to work well with spicier dishes, including those of the Oriental cuisines.
D’Alfonso del Sordo Dammisole Moscato Bianco Secco IGT Puglia 2011
Lot 163 12
Delicate gold with brilliant golden reflections; it draws from its name and looks like the sun in a glass. The bouquet is rich and sweet, with honey and honeydew melon mingled with honeysuckle and some candied citrus peel – almost candied melon rind – acidity, something that provides direction but does not disturb the rich sweet cast of the bouquet . Classic Moscato. On the palate it’s bright, and fresh, and dry but not bone dry, with bright citrussy honeydew melon fruit supported by moderate sweet accents (it is a Moscato) that confer roundness, and a slight tannic burr that provides backbone and power, flowing into a honey laced finish that gives way to citrussy honeydew melon notes and a slightly savory tannic underpinning that continues at length. It’s quite fresh, with all the rich aromatic complexity one expects from Moscato on the nose, and lively freshness on the palate that one might not expect if one has not had a dry Moscato before. It’s a wine that will be fairly versatile, working well with fish, and also with oriental dishes whose spicing will interact nicely with the hints of sweetness the wine displays, and I would also be tempted to serve it with fresh — not aged — cheeses because its acidity will balance the richness of the cheese, keeping the latter from becoming cloying.
It’s an interesting and different wine of a sort I’d be happy to encounter more of.