According to Wine Grapes, the Moscato Rosa grape variety is an Italian cousin of the Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains. It is therefore more closely related to Aleatiko than with Muscat of Hamburg (aka Black Muscat.)
It’s a curious grape because it has an above-averagely high sugar content and exhibits the typical musky aromatic characteristics that we expect from the Muscat family but it is red grape varietal local to the Trentino area in north-eastern Italy. It is relatively thin-skinned and can often be prone to rot.
You may have seen Moscato Rosa wines coming from other corners of the world. I remember trying (and liking) the very frivolous Innocent Bystander sparkling pink moscato a few years ago. This is confusing state of affairs – and totally misleading – as the true Moscato Rosa is only found in northern Italy. Any other “pink moscato” is either a blend of Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains with a dash of red wine added or a rosé de saignée made from the black-skinned Muscat of Hamburg.
Franz Haas took over his family vineyard, located in the Alto Adige, in 1986. Established in 1880, he was to become the 7th generation of his family to work these 55 hectares of vines. His main mission was apparently to increase the quality. I already knew his Pinot Noir but this was my first time trying the Moscato Rosa.
The Moscato Rosa vineyard is situated at 250m above sea level, making it the lowest at this winery, where the highest vineyard is at a startingly 1150m.
Harvest occurs before the grapes are able to overly ripen. Botrytis is not a problem here because the constant wind never lets humidity set in.
Maceration only lasts a few days. Fermentation is then prematurely stopped by reducing the temperature. The wine is racked and left in tanks to rest until bottling. It will wait another six months before being released. The estate makes between 12,000 and 18,000 btls of this wine per annum.
They recommend that it be served between 14-16 deg.
Franz Haas Moscato Rosa 2012 12%, 375ml
There is a theory that the Moscato Rosa del Trentino varietal got its name because of its strong fragrant qualities. Certainly, for this wine, it appears to be justified; the dominant aroma is one of sweet, red rose petals. Secondary characters are of Turkish Delight, cloves and orange peel. A gorgeous deep, morello cherry colour.
The palate is interesting. The soft red berry fruit notes give way to fresh litchi and sweet blood orange steeped in Christmas mulling spices. It’s sweet, but not cloyingly so. After the bottle has been open for a few days, it becomes somewhat reminiscent of a very pleasant cough syrup but when fresh, the acidity and tannins hold their own nicely.
It is a substantial wine with a medium-long finish; the sugar doesn’t give in to the acidity straight away. There’s a balanced elegance to this wine that I find most beguiling. A wine for winelovers. It would lend itself well to food and be a perfect way to finish a decadent meal.
Pair with a light, delicate sweet dessert. A meringue pavlova with billous whipped cream, topped with raspberries. Alternatively, a white chocolate nest filled with strawberries, redcurrants and a hint of a mint leaf. Just an idea!