In praise of moscato: why rappers Kanye West and Drake have a point
The tipple of choice for Kanye West, Drake et al, moscato also goes hand in hand with strawberries and summer afternoons.
Muscat is one of the few grapes (possibly the only one) to make wines that actually smell like fresh grape juice: luscious and, well, grapey. It is also quite floral. The first time I wrote about it – more than a decade ago – my then editor emailed in a huff to ask why I had made him buy a wine that smelt and tasted like air freshener. He had a point. In a moment of insanity, I had recommended a muscat sec. It reeked of freesias and, lacking a bit of softening sweetness, sat in your mouth all hard, dry and aggressive, its flowery alcohol evaporating up your retronasal passage like, well, air freshener. Sorry about that, Jason.
There are, though, some really delicious styles of muscat – sweeter, gentler, nectar-like, in some cases effervescent – that are lovely to drink on a warm summer’s day (and I’ve been waiting months for the sun to come out so I could write about this, so I hope it’s not about to let me down again).
The key word to look for on the bottle isn’t muscat at all but its Italian synonym, moscato. As in: “When things get hard to swallow/ We need a bottle of moscato,” as the rapper Kanye West puts it. Or: “It’s a celebration, clap, clap bravo/ Lobster and shrimp and a glass of moscato/ For the girl who’s a student and her friend who’s a model.” That’s a quote from Drake’s 2009 track Do It Now – and I don’t think lobster and shrimp are actual food-matching suggestions, by the way.
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