Moscato Bianco, white wine grape, the most abundant member of the Moscato family group. Scientific studies show that Moscato Bianco is the progenitor from which all other Moscato varieties have evolved.

The name | Moscato Bianco is still sometimes referred to as Moscato di Canelli by a few producers in the Piemonte (‘Piedmont’) region of north-west Italy, and it is often called just Moscato. Its false synonyms include Moscato Rosa, Muscat à Petits Grains Roses, and Brown Muscat.

Where grown | Piemonte: The majority of Moscato Bianco grown in Italy is found in Piedmont. | Asti DOCG. | Piemonte DOC Moscato. | Tuscany: Moscadello di Montalcino DOC. | Sicilia: Noto DOC. | Siracusa DOC.

Outside Italy | Moscato Bianco It is well-known outside of Italy. France: Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains. | Muscat de Frontignan. Spain: Moscatel de Grano Menudo. | Moscatel de Grano Pequeno. |Other Moscatel named varieties. Portugal: Moscatel Branco. | Moscatel do Douro. | Greece: Moschato Lefko. | Moschato Samou. | Austria & Germany: Muskateller. Australia: Frontignan. South Africa: Muscatel.

Viticulture | Moscato Bianco is late ripening. It can be susceptible to frost damage in cooler climates. It is  remarkably adaptable and manages to thrive in hotter parts of Italy such as Sardinia, Sicily, and Puglia. Its preferred soil is chalky, and limestone-rich. Thin-skinned, Moscato Bianco is prone to most common grapevine pests and fungal diseases. 

Wine style | Moscato Bianco is described as strongly aromatic by Dr Ian D’Agata (Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs, p19). It is the most floral of all the Moscatos, with characteristic aromas of rose, and a plethora of fruit notes such as white peach, pineapple, apricot, plus honey, sage and thyme. Light straw yellow, low to medium acid (depending upon climate) light bodied, delicate and as noted above, very fragrant, bordering on “grapey.”

Wine styles | Moscato Bianco is versatile: slightly sparkling (tank method), low-alcohol and sweet; still, light-bodied—both dry and off-dry; sweet late-harvest made from air-dried grapes; fortified.

Bibliography

Dr Ian d’Agata, Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p55-6.