Rosé Vs Moscato – What’s The Difference?

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Wine always makes for a better meal. By complementing the food’s natural flavors, each sip becomes a delightful experience. However, getting into the finer details of wine can be quite intimidating, especially for beginners.

After all, there’s more to it than just red or white. Wine comes in all kinds of shades with a variety of flavors and undertones. Among the most famous wines which don’t adhere to the categories of simply red or white are rosé and moscato.

But what’s the difference between rosé and moscato? While both rosé and pink moscato have a similarly rosy appearance, rosé gets its color through a process called maceration, while pink moscato is a blend of white and red grapes. Moscato is also a sweeter wine, while rosé has a dryer flavor profile.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about these wines as we explore crucial differences in their production and flavor profiles.

This guide seeks to help enhance your dining and drinking experience with these two pink wines. So, be sure to keep reading!

How Rosé is Made

Rosé is perhaps the most famous type of pink wine. It gets its distinctive pink coloration from the production process, known as maceration. To make rosé, the grapes are crushed with their skins on.

A fresh glass of rosé.

The grape skins are then left in contact with the juice for a short period. This contact period could last somewhere between 2-20 hours. The longer the skins are left, the deeper the pink color becomes.

Take note that this is different compared to the making of red wines wherein the skins are left to ferment with the juice for the entire duration.

The type of grape being used and the amount of time the grape skins are left in contact with the juice will affect the taste, dryness, and color intensity of the rosé. 

These are the most commonly used grapes for making rosé:

  • Merlot 
  • Tempranillo 
  • Malbec
  • Zinfandel 
  • Syrah
  • Grenache
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Sangiovese 
  • Pinot Noir

The grapes used are either used solo or as part of a blend. It is also worth noting that the choice of grape may vary depending on the wine’s country of origin.

For instance, a rosé from Spain will most likely come from a blend of Tempranillo and Grenache grapes. On the other hand, Italian rosé will probably use Sangiovese grapes.

The Flavor Profile of Rosé 

Compared to red wines, the flavors of rosé will seem more subtle and tame. Those with more sensitive palates will also detect hints of citrus mixed in with some strawberry, cherry, and raspberry undertones.

Rosés are perfect spring and summer wines. Best served chilled, they bring a refreshing vibrancy to the table that fits the warm weather perfectly. 

It may also come as a surprise to most that rosé wines are incredibly versatile and food-friendly. Its lighter body and delicate flavor make it perfect for even the heaviest of meals.

Not only does it pair well with the seafood and the steak, but it also works well with other red meats like ham. 

Listed below are some of our recommended rosé food pairings:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken salad
  • Duck 
  • Turkey
  • Lamb 
  • Soft cheese
  • Charcuterie

It is also worth noting that because of its flavor profile, rosé makes for a great picnic and barbeque wine. Surprisingly, its understated and subtle flavor can easily complement the hearty flavors of your hamburgers and grilled hot dogs.

How Moscato is Made

Moscato wine is another popular type of wine. As its name suggests, this type of wine is made from the Muscat grape. There are over 200 known variations of these types of grapes, as they come in a myriad of different shades and colors.

Some are red, white, pink, or golden. Pink moscato, specifically, is a blend of white grapes with a red variety.

You can have moscato wine in a few different ways. The most well-known types are sparkling and still moscato. Presented below are the ways you can tell them apart: 

  • Sparkling Moscato — This is the wine you will most likely get when you ask for a moscato at the restaurant as it is the most common and most well-known kind of moscato. It is a white wine with a sweet flavor. You can instantly identify it by its bubbly appearance and fizzy taste.
  • Still Moscato – This type of moscato is also known as Muscat blanc. It is made from white Muscat grapes. As its name suggests, it is missing the muscato’s signature fizz. Most moscato fans find this wine perplexing, as the lack of sparkle makes a huge difference in terms of taste and texture. Still, moscato wines are also incredibly dry – another source of displeasure for moscato drinkers.

The Flavor Profile of Moscato

If you have tasted your fair share of wines, then you are probably familiar with the Sauvignon Blanc – the most famous white wine around. For those who don’t know, that particular wine is known for its tart and dry flavors.

A white moscato.

Moscato provides your palate with the exact opposite.

Moscato is known for being sweet and aromatic. Moreover, one sip will give you a burst of fruit flavors.

The wine’s signature sweet taste is derived from the essence of Muscat grapes. These grapes are known to contain high levels of residual sugar but very little acidity. 

A single sip from a glass of moscato will tell you much about its features and characteristics. While the fragrant aroma is undeniable, it is far from overwhelming.

Its fruity and floral undertones can also hint at notes of apricot, citrus, and peach, along with petals of elderflower.

As a general rule, you want to pair your wines with complementary flavors. So it probably comes as no surprise that this sweet Italian white wine is incredibly popular as a dessert wine.

After all, its distinctively sweet flavor and fizziness makes moscato the perfect compliment to post-dinner treats.

However, it always comes as a surprise to many that moscato can also be incredibly versatile. For instance, it works well with spicy food, as well as a wide array of Asian cuisine.

Listed below are some of the dishes you can pair with your moscato:

It is also worth stating here that moscato works well enough as a dessert on its own. This is because the sweet flavor of the wine is an effective palate cleanser.

Just remember to always serve it chilled, as it helps highlight the fruity and floral undertones of the wine. 

So, Which One Do You Choose?

There is no denying that both rosé and moscato are great wines by their own right.

This comparison guide is not designed to tell you which is superior. After all, as any sommelier would tell you, it often comes down to your personal preferences and moods.

For instance, if you are throwing a dinner party complete with hearty, oily, and meaty dishes, then you should consider drinking something more refined and understated.

This will help complete the meal and round out the flavors. In situations like that, rosé is a perfect choice.

Rosé is perfect if you love red wines but are in the mood for something a little lighter. Take note that these wines are dryer than most whites, while still retaining their ethereal qualities.

When you take a sip, you will likely be thankful for the light notes of strawberry and rose petals.

On the other hand, if you are looking to finish a light meal, then perhaps the sweetness of the moscato will serve you well. After all, its fizzy and sparkling texture is always delightful.

In addition, moscato’s natural sweetness works perfectly with all types of desserts. 

Other Differences to Consider

If you’ve stuck with us this far, the biggest differences between rosé and moscato should be much clearer by now. However, there are also a lot of smaller differences.

Listed below is a summary of the things we know and some of the finer details you need to remember.

Rosé Vs Moscato Comparison

Rosé Moscato
Color Pink White/pink/gold/red
Alcohol Content 12% 5-12%
Calorie Content (per glass) 83  127
Sugar Content 21 g/L 64 g/L
Grapes Used Merlot, Tempranillo, Malbec,
Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenache,
Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir
Flavor Profile Smooth and subtle with fruity undertones Sweet and delicate with fruity and floral notes
Best Paired With Steak, burgers, barbeque, lamb, turkey, and pork Sweet desserts, spicy food
Dryness/Sweetness Very dry Sweet 

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