Forget ranking the great wines of the world for just a moment. Instead focus on the wines you love the most - the ones that are delicious, the ones that you'd love to try again and again. I tend to think the latter category of wines are the ones I am more interested in on a daily basis. Sure, it's a memorable occasion to try a great Barolo or Burgundy, but those moments don't take place too often. Rather, comfort wines are the ones we generally enjoy.
Well I just found one of my all time favorite wines that is delicious, fun and not very expensive - a great combination in my mind. It's a 2011 Moscato from Innocent Bystander in Victoria, Australia and boy, is this a neat wine!
I love Moscato - or Muscat, if you will, from just about anywhere. The grape has some of the most easily recognizable aromas and they're usually intensely fruity and floral, ranging from peach to apricot to acacia flowers. While there are a few versions made dry (most notably in Alsace), many versions are slightly or moderately sweet. Australia is home to many superb Muscats - known as "stickies" - that are sweet and quite lush. Many of these have an amber or tawny color as they have been aged in wood; along with the sweetness, there is often a light nuttiness.
Then of course, you have the lovely Moscato d'Asti from Piedmont in northern Italy, which is slowly becoming one of the world's most beloved wines. Made in a frizzante (slightly sparkling) style, the wines burst forth with amazing aromas of ginger, peach, apricot and orange zest and have a delicate sweetness to them. Best of all, they're light as a feather as they are only 5.5% alcohol, meaning you can drink a full bottle without too much trouble.
The Innocent Bystander Moscato is in that same mold as a Moscato d'Asti, with only one major difference- the appearance. This is made from two clones of Moscato: Gordo Muscat (a new one on me) and Black Muscat, so the color is a pretty salmon pink. One sip of this wine is like biting into both a freshly picked strawberry and mango and it finishes dry - not off-dry, but truly dry. This is also 5.5% alcohol with a light fizziness. It looks appealing, smells inviting and of course, tastes great! (Another nice feature is that the wine is topped with a crown cap - so just find a a bottle opener for this.)
I was asked by a representative of this winery if I wanted to try this wine. I replied yes, as I love Moscato. I thought I'd find a wine I liked, but I wasn't prepared for this wine, which I absolutely love! In fact, I can honestly say that this is one of the most pleasant surprises I've discovered from any wine region anywhere in the world over the past five years! Try it and I'm sure you'll fall in love with it as well - especially at the $14 retail price (750 ml bottle).