Moscato Rosa

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Moscato Rosa is a red-skinned member of the Muscat family. It is most commonly found in northeast Italy, particularly in the alpine Trentino-Alto Adige region, where it has its own few DOC titles. Moscato Rosa is generally used to make sweet wines through a variety of means, and these are commonly highly aromatic with notes of sweet spice, berry fruit, and rose aromas as suggested by the variety's name.

Moscato Rosa is a challenge in the vineyard, as its thin skins and poor fruit set make it an extremely inconsistent variety. It is a female vine and requires pollination from other varieties, which is relatively unusual in viticulture – most varieties used in winemaking are hermaphrodites and are thus self-pollinating. Issues arise when there are no other vines nearby to regularly pollinate, and fruit set can be quite irregular. Thin skinned berries also make Moscato Rosa rather susceptible to rot.

These thin skins can be a blessing though. As the berries dehydrate quickly, they are very well-suited to sweet wine production, especially in the passito style where berries are air dried prior to vinification. Some producers prefer a late harvest example of Moscato Rosa, although this often relies on vineyard sites where soils are dry and sandy, letting the grapes dry out prior to picking.

Moscato Rosa is known by a few names – the most common of these is the German form, Rosenmuskateller, used to label the few Austrian examples. It also goes by the name of Muskat Ruza Porecki in Croatia, and several researchers suggest that this is where the grape originates from.

Unfortunately, Moscato Rosa's high quality means it suffers from that most sincere form of flattery – imitation. New world wines labelled as Moscato Rosa are much more commonly made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains with a small amount of red wine added. Australia is particularly notorious for this.
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