Meet the Sparklings: Moscato Spumante



Hold up, wait a minute, what’s a California wine doing with the name Champagne on it’s label?!

Because, yes, the Barefoot brand is most definitely a California-produced wine, but they’ve been using the Champagne name since before it was “outlawed” in 2006 so they have special dispensation, as long as it clearly says its home state on the label so as not to confuse the consumer. Not only that, but this is obviously not the Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend a Champagne by any name would rightfully be.

Moscato is still pretty popular as far as it’s preponderance on store shelves attest to, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of sparkling versions on the market as well. The bottle I had on hand, Barefoot Bubbly Moscato Spumante, is a low-alcohol, fairly sweet one that is fun for a girl’s night out sort of feel or, my reason for having it on hand, mixing into cocktails. (We’re actually using this as part of our signature drink for our wedding next month.)

And what about the name Spumante? I remember feeling very grown up when we were given a bottle of Asti Spumante by a client and I was allowed to have some (I was slightly under the legal drinking age, I admit). I remember it was fizzy and sort of sweet but the memory is tinged more with affectation than actual experience.

Apparently spumante and frizzante are two different classifications of Italian sparkling wines usually made by the Chamat method (double fermentation in vats, the frizzante having fewer bubbles than it’s cousin; though it should be noted that not ALL spumantes are made in that style, some only use single fermentation) in the Piedmont region. It is usually made from Moscato grapes, so barefoot’s appropriate of 2 different countries wine names is sort of understandable.

Described as peachy, I get more of a rosey-floral nose and even though it is definitely sweeter than Brut Champagne, it’s not as sweet as some others I’ve had. It pairs well with either very spicy foods (creating a complementary balance of flavors) or pair it with desserts–I tried it with a lemon shortbread cookie and was surprised at how the citrus toned down the floral notes.