Do you every feel like sparkling wines are limited, something that can only be used at New Year’s Eve and weddings? Well, I wanted to break that mold, and Casa Vinicola Zonin was up for helping me out. Their team sent over two wines to try – a Rose (Zonin) and a Moscato D’asti (2010, Castello del Poggio). I chose to work with the moscato, as I haven’t worked much with that type of wine before.
At first taste, I was impressed with the sweetness. It’s intense, with stone fruit flavors dominating and finishing with floral notes. Definitely the kind of wine you don’t take with a steak. With the lovely bubbles and fruitiness, it’s pleasant to sip on, just not one I’d want to pair with incredibly strong flavors. So, for cooking with it, I decided to go with dessert.
I at first had grand visions of something involving cake pops – Dianne of Dianne’s Delights makes some amazing ones with malbec and chocolate cake. As I didn’t think I could measure up to her amazing pops, I decided to go with something more mellow.
Poached pears are a wonderful fall and winter treat in Seattle. Following David Lebovitz’s instructions with 50:50 moscato to water, 20 minutes and some flecks of vanilla bean later I had soft and delicate slices of fruit.
I wanted mellow spices to go with the delicate pear, so I made a tea cake from Bell’alimento, as it was heady with brown sugar, freshly ground nutmeg, and cinnamon, but not overwhelming. To plate, I added some lightly sweetened whipped cream, but this would work great with a caramel sauce or a moscato glaze.
Finally, I wanted some citrus, so I made mimosas using the Moscato and freshly squeezed clementine juice. I’d recommend trying this with yuzu or kumquat juice if you have it on hand, as the wine can take some tang.
Within a half hour, I had the makings of one fabulous formal brunch or a winter dessert, and it was actually really easy to pull together. The hardest part was not finishing off all of the Moscato while I waited for the cake to cool. If you wanted a fuller meal, you could add granola or something light, but I think this is great as it is.
Even after poaching pears and making mimosas, I had some leftover wine. Next time I think I’ll try adding some of the Moscato to my whipped cream, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics.
Give the Castello del Poggio Moscato D’asti a try when you’re searching for sweeter dessert wines – it won’t make those who want a dry riesling happy, but it’s a great light wine to start or end an evening.