Prosecco and Moscato look very similar. Both are sparkling white wines and they are pale to straw yellow in colour. They have also hit the headlines in recent years in what can only be considered unusual situations.
At Disney World, an adult-only dessert was introduced. It is called the Frozcato and is composed of Moscato and vodka combined with Dale Whip ice cream. It is put in between two sugar cookies and then served. However, don’t get too excited. It is only available at Wine Bar George in Disney World.
In different establishments in New York City, unusual ice cream flavours such as lobster and crab and ice cream topped with edible gold are accompanied by Prosecco that has been filled with pop-flavoured ice.
However, although on the surface there are similarities between the two wines, there really are a lot of differences as well, both in flavour and sweetness. In this article, we will be telling you about the differences and similarities between them and then, hopefully, you will be able to decide which wine will suit the occasion at which you want to serve sparkling wine.
What are the Differences Between Prosecco and Moscato?
- Prosecco is high in alcohol levels, around 11.5% while Moscato is at or under 5.5%. If you are looking for a drink that is light in alcohol and won’t leave you with a heavy head, choose Moscato.
- Moscato is fragrant, floral, and sweet. Prosecco is less sweet and it is fruity.
- Both wines are Italian, but Moscato comes from Asti, while Prosecco comes from Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
- Prosecco has a 3.5% level of acidity, while Moscato is less acidic, around 1%.
Why are Prosecco and Moscato Often Mixed Up?
It isn’t that difficult to understand why Prosecco and Moscato are mixed up because they are both sparkling wines and they come from Italy. If you just look at the two bottles sitting next to each other, you probably wouldn’t know the difference between them. However, Prosecco can come as a sweet wine, but usually, it is extra dry while Moscato is sweet. Because of the different levels of sweetness, they pair with different foods.If you poured a glass of each, they would both be carbonated and they would be a similar colour, but this is where the similarity ends.
What is Sparkling Wine?
We don’t want to insult your intelligence, but sparkling wine is a carbonated drink. Prosecco is often called bubbly, while Moscato is known as spumante. In that way, Moscato is similar to Asti Spumante in that both are sweet wines. Asti Spumante, however, is higher in alcohol. It is similar to Prosecco. Both Moscato and Prosecco are often used as celebratory drinks, but there’s nothing wrong if you drink either on a normal day if you enjoy sparkling wine. Both are reasonably priced and you will only be paying similar to a bottle of average still wine.
The carbonation is produced by high levels of carbon dioxide being added to the wine during fermentation. There are some sparkling wines that only have half the pressure of carbon dioxide added so they are less carbonated. If you like sparkling wine, but don’t like too much fizz, this would be for you.
Are Champagne and Sparkling Wine the Same Thing?
Not quite. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine, but Prosecco and Moscato are not varieties of Champagne. The name of Champagne is only given to sparkling wine which is produced in the Champagne region of France. Every type of sparkling wine comes from a certain region and Prosecco and Moscato come from Italy. You wouldn’t name a sparkling wine from Spain, Prosecco or Moscato. In the same way, you wouldn’t call Italian sparkling wines Cava, which is a sparkling wine from Spain. You will usually find that Champagne is more expensive than most other sparkling wines.
What is Sparkling Wine Used For?
We have already said that sparkling wine adds a touch of elegance to a special occasion. You will nearly always find sparkling wine served at a wedding reception or anniversary party, if not for the whole meal, but when people arrive and then if there are toasts at the end. On these occasions, Prosecco would be perfect with nibbles before the meal, while Moscato would be a great pairing with the dessert.
However, there is nothing stopping you from drinking sparkling wine on a weekday. It brings a touch of lightness to any meal and makes an everyday occurrence, just a little more special. Flavours are lifted by the carbonation and become more pronounced. Prosecco would pair well with appetizers and the main course, while Moscato would add a touch of quirkiness to the end of the meal.
Sparkling wine can also be used as a palate cleanser. You could perhaps have a glass of Prosecco in between the appetizer and the main course. Then you could enjoy a Moscato after the main course in preparation for the sweetness of the dessert. However, there is nothing stopping you from having either drink with your meal as a whole.
What is the Right Way to Serve Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wine has to be served cold. The minimum amount of time it needs to be in the fridge or wine cooler is 30 minutes. However, it is good to get into the habit of putting your sparkling wine directly into the fridge when you buy it. It won’t do it any harm and it will stop you from getting caught short.
The way you remove the cork is also important. First, pat the bottle down with a dry towel. You need to do this otherwise the bottle can become slippery and you might not be able to hold onto it without it falling off your worktop.. The next step is to remove the foil, but not the wire that holds the cork in place. Then tilt the bottle slightly while keeping the cork straight. Remove the wire and then gently pull the cork out. If you do it too quickly, the wine could fizz up and bubble out of the bottle. It will make a mess, not to mention that it will be a waste of good wine.
Once opened, a bottle of sparkling wine should be drunk within three days, perhaps even less for some sparkling wines. The bubbles start to die down after the bottle has been opened, but there are good corkscrews and other tools on the market that will preserve your wine for longer. Of course, it is highly likely that you will finish the sparkling wine in one sitting if you are entertaining guests.
It’s not a good idea to add ice to sparkling wine as it will just dilute a delicious drink. You are just better off making sure that it is cool enough to begin with. You could even take the bottle out of the fridge and put it in the freezer for a quarter of an hour. That’s long enough for it to get really cold without freezing the wine. It all depends on how cold you like your wine to be. Always put the bottle back in the fridge after serving the first glass otherwise the second glass will be warmer and not so pleasant. There are,however, wine coolers on the market which you wrap around the wine bottle and it keeps it cold. They need to be kept in the freezer for this to work.
The Different Categories of Sparkling Wine and Their Meanings
Sparkling wine is not only separated by the region the grapes are grown but also by how sweet or dry they are. Here we have listed the levels of sweetness you may come across.
- Extra Brut. The driest wine you can get is Extra Brut. It is astringent and has next to no sugars in it. It can taste a little bitter, but if you are a fan of still dry white wine, you should enjoy Extra Brut. Some Champagne is Extra Brut.
- Brut. Brut is also dry, but not quite as dry as Extra Brut. Again Champagne can be Brut. and in fact, it is more popular compared to Extra Brut. It is dry but has a touch of sweetness to it. It is versatile and goes well with appetizers, but you could even drink it with your main meal. It is a wine often bought for celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties, and anniversaries.
- Extra Dry. Prosecco is usually extra dry, but there are a few sweeter versions. It is sweeter than Brut sparkling wine, but it is still dry. It is a good wine to have with both appetizers and main courses, but not desserts as it is too dry. It is also a great celebratory drink. It adds elegance to any occasion.
- Demi-Sec. Demi-sec sparkling wine is sweeter than any of the others. Moscato and Asti Spumante fall into this category. They are best served with desserts although, as we have said, Moscato can be served with hot Thai food. The sweetness of the wine balances the hot and spicy notes.
The taste is affected by the different sugar and alcohol levels, but it doesn’t stop there. These factors affect where and when the wine will be served. You wouldn’t want to have Extra Brut with dessert and perhaps not even with your main meal. It is more suited as a drink with nibbles before dinner. Both Brut and Extra Dry wines can be paired with main meals or as a celebratory drink. They can even be paired with seafood. Sometimes you can pair a dessert with an Extra Dry sparkling wine. It would work the best with a fruit-based dessert such as apple pie or rhubarb crumble, or you could just serve fruit with it. Citrus and stone fruits go well. Both Brut and Extra Dry can be paired with seafood. Demi-sec is mainly just for desserts.
Comparing Prosecco and Moscato
It’s now time to compare Prosecco and Moscato by looking at them with differing criteria. You will find that they are very different wines despite both being sparkling and a bright straw colour..
Acidity. Acidity means the level of tartness in the wine. The more acidic the wine, the higher the level of tartness. White wines are usually more acidic than red wines. In addition, sparkling wines are generally the most acidic of all white wines. However, if you choose a Demi-sec sparkling wine, it won’t be very tart but will be sweet. It is interesting to note that there are fewer Demi-sec wines around compared to Brut and Extra Dry. This is because it is more difficult to produce a sweet sparkling wine.
Prosecco has acidic levels of around 3.5%, which is an average amount of acidity for a sparkling wine. Moscato has much less acidity, probably around 1%.
Body. Sparkling wines don’t usually have that much body, the same as white wines in general. It is usually red wines that have a heavier body, although of course there are exceptions to the rule, such as Pinot Noir. Both Prosecco and Moscato are light-bodied. This means that they are lighter on the mouth and are more refreshing than red wines. Light-bodied wines can be less complex than wines that are heavier, meaning that they probably won’t have such a range of flavours and aromas as red wines.
Tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds in wine. They are both astringent and bitter and they can leave a dry taste in your mouth. Red wines are often higher in tannins than white wines. The greatest sources of tannins are wood and grapes. There are more tannins in purple grapes, hence the higher level of tannins in red wine. Because of this, there is very little difference in the tannin level between Prosecco and Moscato, although Prosecco may take the edge as it is a drier wine..
Origin. Prosecco and Moscato are both produced in Italy. Moscato comes from Asti, where Asti Spumante is made. This area is in the northwestern area of Italy. The soil is rich in limestone and sandstone. Limestone offers good drainage when it’s wet but still retains water in dry weather. It is rich in calcium carbonate which makes the soil less acidic. When picked, Moscato grapes are crushed and then frozen before they are fermented.
Prosecco comes from Friuli Venezi Giulia and Veneto and is never fermented in a bottle. It always has to be a tank. Prosecco is generally made from Glera grapes, but sometimes other grapes are added up to a level of 15%. If you want to know if the Prosecco you are buying is pure, look it up on the internet. Pure brands can often be better than blends.
Flavour Profile. Both Moscato and Prosecco can vary in flavour from brand to brand as do all wines. However, each does have a different flavour profile so we’ll take a look at them now.
- Moscato. Moscato is a sweet and light sparkling wine. It is also very fragrant with different floral smells such as rose petals and elderflowers. When drinking a glass of Moscato, you will taste stone fruits like peaches and apricots and also some citrus, especially orange.
- Prosecco. Prosecco is fruity but much drier than Moscato meaning that it is also less sweet. When drinking this wine you will get to smell honeysuckle and taste honeydew melon, pear, and green apple. These tastes can make the wine seem sweeter than it really is.
- Percentage of alcohol. Prosecco and Moscato have very different levels of alcohol. If you want a drink that is less strong, go for Moscato. It only has 5.5% alcohol, sometimes even less. Prosecco has between 10% and 12% which is normal for a white wine.
What Food Do You Pair Prosecco and Moscato With?
You can enjoy food all the more if you pair it with the right wine. Here; we’ll take a look at some good pairing for each wine. This really shows how different these two wines are.
- Moscato. Moscato is really a dessert wine. Desserts with fruit in them go well, such as fruit cobblers, fruit crumbles and fruit tarts. Lemon meringue pie is also a good pairing. You could even just serve it with a fruit platter. However, Moscato surprisingly is also served with antipasto and cheese boards. What is unusual is that it complements spicy Thai and Korean food. You may find this hard to believe, but the sweet notes of the Moscato help to balance the hot flavours. If you find this hard to believe, just give it a try. It may surprise you.
- Prosecco. Prosecco isn’t a dessert wine in the same way Moscato is. However, there are a few sweeter versions of Prosecco that could be served with a dessert, particularly a fruit dessert. You wouldn’t want to serve it with a chocolate mousse as the mousse is too sweet and rich.
Prosecco can be a pre-dinner drink when guests arrive. It should be served with bite-size nibbles. It can also be served at the meal with appetizers and main courses. It goes with earthy flavours like stuffed mushrooms and it also pairs with cream-based main courses. Try it with beef stroganoff. You will find that Prosecco is a very versatile wine and there are many foods you can pair it with, even fried calamari and enchiladas.
How to Choose Between Prosecco and Moscato
Hopefully, you are well on your way to deciding whether you want to drink Prosecco or Moscato, or maybe you will have both for different occasions and food pairings. We’ll have a quick review of the main features of both wines.
Is there a difference in price between the two wines?
Both wines are reasonably priced, although, of course, some brands will be more expensive than others. Prosecco is probably the cheapest because Moscato has a more complicated fermentation process. Prosecco is also easier to find in the supermarket. You may have to go to a specialised wine shop or off-licence to find Moscato.
Does it matter that the alcohol content of the two wines is different?
No, it doesn’t matter. It is up to you how strong a wine you are looking for. As Moscato is normally served as a dessert wine, you probably wouldn’t want a high alcohol count as you have probably already had wine with your meal which is higher in alcohol levels. What it comes down to really, is a personal choice.
What are you serving the wines with?
If you are serving a sparkling wine with an appetizer or main course, you will be best off with Prosecco. For dessert, you will want Moscato, although a sweeter Prosecco will match fruity desserts. Moscato surprisingly goes well with hot and spicy Thai food.
Do you prefer floral scents or fruity flavours?
If you enjoy a fruity flavour, Prosecco is the best choice. If you like the scent of flowers, then Moscato should be your pick.
Recommendations of Great Brands of Prosecco and Moscato
Now you’ve decided which wine you want to buy, we’ll give you some suggestions of brands to consider.
- Santa Margherita Brut. This is a Prosecco that not only has the bubbles effect, but it also has a smooth finish, just like a good Chardonnay would have. It has tastes of stone fruits like apricots, cherries and peaches, citrus like orange and grapefruit, and a little honeydew melon. It has 11.5% alcohol which is normal for a Prosecco. It is a bright wine that slips down easily.
- Mionetto Sergio Extra Dry Prosecco. There is a light touch of sweetness to this prosecco and tastes of stone fruits like peach and apricot and, in addition, citrus. It has a crisp acidity that pairs well with savoury foods. It also has a mineral touch which means that it will go with heavier foods such as calamari and cream-based dishes. You could even serve it with a Sunday roast dinner.
- Moletto 2008 Prosecco. Like many Proseccos, this wine has a taste of stone fruits, like peaches, cherries, and apricots as well as citrus. However, there is also a hint of peppermint which is unusual and innovative. This taste can be very refreshing. It is a classic and elegant wine that is soft on carbonation.
- 22015 Ruggers ‘Vecchie Vita’ Superiore Brut. This is a rich Prosecco so it will pair well with main courses, especially creamy ones. It also goes well with fish, in particular sea bass and sea bream, crustaceans, and seafood. Because it is so rich, it is a good wine to enjoy during the winter months when you want to sit close to a warm fire. There is just a touch of tannins in this wine and it has both fruity and savoury tastes. You may taste stone fruits and a little citrus as well as herbs and black pepper.
- Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DCCG Brut – Terre di San Venanzio Fortunato. This Prosecco is light, refreshing, and dry. It has simple fruity flavours such as citrus and stone fruits. It complements earth appetizers such as mushrooms as well as fish. Although it is light, it can cope well with main courses as well.
- Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti. This wine is considered to be delicate and light and it pairs well with fresh fruit and sorbet. A light strawberry or raspberry mousse would also go well. The main flavour of this wine is apricot and there are also notes of strawberries, peaches, and an aroma of sweet honeysuckle. It is a great wine to enjoy on a warm summer’s evening.
- Michell Chialo Nivole Moscato d’Asti, This wine is both fragrant and smooth. If you love floral aromas, this wine is for you. It tastes of stone fruits like peaches and apricots. It is amazing to see this wine in the glass as it is a brilliant straw yellow. Enjoy this wine with fruit or fruity desserts.
- Castello del Poggio Moscato. This Moscato is a deep straw colour which is very dramatic. It is fruity and the first taste you will get is peach, followed by musk. The aroma is of white flowers and honey. It is a very summery wine and goes well with fruit desserts. It feels light when you taste it, but it is a structured sparkling wine, unlike some others.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Prosecco and Champagne?
There are many different sparkling wines such as Cava, Prosecco, Moscato, and Champagne. The thing that differentiates them is the region they come from. Prosecco, for example, is from Italy as is Moscato. Cava is Spanish. Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France and is one of the most expensive sparkling wines out there. Nobody is allowed to call their sparkling wine Champagne unless it comes from Champagne.
Is sparkling wine gluten-free?
Just about all wine, including sparkling wine, is gluten-free. This means that they have less than the legal limit of gluten which is less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Is Prosecco an appetizer?
Prosecco can be drunk on its own before a meal with just nibbles. It’s a great way to greet guests especially at a wedding, but it would also suit a simple dinner party. It is a great start to any meal. However, Prosecco can also be paired with both the first course and the main meal and even some desserts. Creamy foods like beef stroganoff go well with Prosecco and you can even have it with popcorn.