Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Muscat You've Been Waiting For

My husband hates his job and is threatening to quit (again), so pretty soon I may not be able to afford wine, or at least I will have to drink it all from a box. May as well enjoy these bottles while I can. But what better wine to enjoy than my wonderful new discovery of Purple Cow Muscat! Here's that 2008 vs. 2009 tasting flight I promised you.

This Muscat is made from the Muscat Ottanel grape, while the Moscato d'Asti I'd previously tried (which I didn't really care for) is from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. I'm not sure how much of the difference comes from the grapes themselves and how much is from the winemaking process, but I found a huge variation between these Muscats and that Moscato d'Asti. I loved these Purple Cow wines! Both of them!

I first opened the 2009, which is called "off-dry." The Purple Cow website says it has 1% residual sugar with a coconut, peach, and honeysuckle nose, and that it's dry enough to enjoy with food.

Next was the "supremely dry" 2008. The website says this "was a very cool year with a long, dry autumn. Its effect on the Muscat vintage was near perfection. The varietal character came out strong and naturally created a nice sugar/acid balance. The only downside to this vintage was that the yield was very poor, so there isn't much to go around . . . classic Muscat aromas of peach, honeysuckle, magnolia, and coconut are framed in a very subtle package that is excellent for many food pairings." It's also described as a very intense vintage with a high skin/seed to weight ratio.

The 2008 does have a stronger aroma than the 2009, in which I can certainly smell more sweetness, but they both smell great. I could probably convince myself that I'm smelling peach, honeysuckle and coconut, but then if the bottle had claimed it smelled like strawberries, lemons, and rocks, I probably would have believed that too. The 2008 has no sweetness to it at all and has a nice tart aftertaste, but it is still light and fresh, just like my sister said. The 2009 seems calmer and more relaxed. (Or maybe that's just me). I can definitely taste more sugar in the 2009. It's almost like the 2008 is wine with the essence of grapefruit juice, and the 2009 is the same with an added dusting of sugar on top.

Along the way, I learned something new. Allow me to pass it along to you! What I have done tonight is called a "vertical tasting," meaning I have compared the same wine through different vintages. This is as oppposed to--you guessed it--a "horizontal tasting," which is not at all what it sounded like to me. That would be comparing a group of wines from the same vintage or of the same style (such as all Pinot Noirs, or that Malbec vs. Malbec tasting I last did), and has nothing to do with bed. Both differ from my usual willy-nilly tasting, which I suppose would be considered "diagonal," or perhaps even "skew."

I believe in this vertical tasting we have what one might term a draw. There is a slight though distinct difference between these two wines, but I wouldn't kick either one out of bed. And it's great to have finally found a white wine that I love. Keep that in mind if you see me on the side of the interstate holding a hand-lettered cardboard sign that reads, "Will work for wine."