Rosé vs Moscato: Are They The Same? What’s The Difference?

A glass of wine, whether accompanied by a meal or as an end of day treat is one of the ultimate luxuries. The way the flavor of wine can complement a meal is like magic to us here at The Kitchen Community.

Wine connoisseurs among us will know how important it is to pair the right wine with the right meal. You cannot just simply say white wine goes with fish and red wine goes with beef.

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No, no. no. wine is far more complex than this as it comes in all different flavors, colors, and shades of colors (for example, you can have three white wines in front of you and all of them will look and taste different). 

This can make choosing a wine to complement your meal or to enjoy at the end of a long working week pretty difficult. In this article, we aim to clear up at least some of that confusion by comparing two very popular wines - Rosé and Moscato.

These wines are both very similar and often get confused or used interchangeably. This is because of their similar rosy color. However, when you taste them you quickly realize that there are clear differences between them, with Moscato being sweeter and Rosé having a more dry flavor profile.

To better explore the difference and similarities between them we must first look at each of them separately and see how they are made. So, buckle up, pour yourself a glass of your favorite vino, and relax while you read our article.

How is rosé made?

The color of the Rosé is perhaps one of the most distinctive things about it. I mean, it’s how it got its name!

The rosy pink color of the Rosé is a result of the process used to produce the wine. This is called maceration. Maceration simply means that the grapes used to make Rosé have been crushed with their skins on.

The skin of the grapes is left in with the crushed juice for a period of time ranging from around 2 hours to 20 hours. As you might have guessed, the longer the skins are left in contact with the juice, the darker and deeper the pink color.

This sounds a little like the process used to make red wines. If you are familiar with how red wine is made then you will know that the skin of the grapes is left with the juice for the whole of the wine making process. That is, the grapes remain in the mixture from beginning to end.

For Rosé, the grapes are not left in there for quite that amount of time, hence the pink color as opposed to deep red or purple. As well as a color difference, the longer the grapes are left in (as well as the type of grape used) can affect the taste, smell, and dryness of the wine.

Several different types of grapes can be used for Rosé wine. These include merlot grapes, Syrah grapes, Zinfandel grapes, Malbec grapes, and Sangiovese.

Of course, this is not an extensive list, and more can certainly be added. These grapes can be used alone or in a mix with other grapes as more of a blend.

As with other wines, the grapes used are determined by where in the world the wine is being made.

What is the flavor profile of rosé?

When compared to that of red wine, the flavor of Rosé wine is much lighter and more subtle. This is because the skins of the grapes are left in the wine for less time.

The undertones that are most commonly featured in Rosé wines include citrus, raspberry, cherry, and strawberry. This makes them the perfect summer wine to be enjoyed chilled on a sunny day.

Because of the versatile flavor and subtlety, Rosé wine lends itself well to many of your favorite recipes. This is because it is not too overpowering.

You can safely pair it with very flavorful food and it will provide a delicate drink to complement it well.

Our favorites dishes to pair with Rosé wine include:

  • Summer desserts
  • Cheese and cured meats - for example, on a charcuterie board
  • Bruschetta with Prosciutto
  • Pizza and pasta dishes (especially with lots of fresh herbs like basil and thyme)
  • Salmon dishes
  • Salads that feature chicken or fish
  • As a picnic or barbecue wine
  • With lighter lamb dishes (such as a lamb and salad dish)
  • As a wine served with appetizers (especially of French or Italian cuisine )
  • ...and so much more!

Rosé wine is delicious with so many different dishes (or on its own with some delicious Belgian chocolate whilst having a pamper night!).

How is Moscato made?

Moscato wine, as the name may suggest, is made from the Muscat grape. That being said, there are actually over 200 varieties of this grape, and so there are many different types of Moscato wine.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to be referring to one type of Moscato wine in particular. This is pink Moscato wine. The reason for this is because this is the type of Moscato that is most often confused with Rosé thanks to their similar colors.

Pink Moscato wine is made by mixing both white and red Muscat grapes together in a blend. Other types of Moscato wines include red, white, and golden.

Moscato is made by harvesting the grapes needed when the brix is at an optimal point (Brix simply refers to the sugar content of the grape), where they are picked and crushed.

In order to halt the fermentation process, the crushed grapes get chilled almost until they are frozen. This leaves the natural sugars within the wine, adding to its very sweet taste.

Typically, Moscato wine comes in sparkling or still varieties. The sparkling Moscato is the most popular and it is the one that typically gets served in restaurants. If you were to ask for Moscato wine whilst you were eating out, it is likely you would be brought the sparkling kind.

Sparkling Moscato is identifiable by its bubbles and sweet taste. The other type of Moscato wine that needs to be discussed is the still version.

Still Moscato wine, whilst still using Muscat grapes, is less popular than its fizzy counterpart. This is because the lack of sparkle makes it taste much drier.

The taste and texture are very different to that of sparkling Moscato wine, and so is less enjoyable to drink, at least according to longtime fans of sparkling Moscato.

What is the flavor profile of Moscato?

Moscato wine is a very sweet, delicious wine. The scent of the wine is much like the taste as it is very aromatic. The notes and undertones are very fruity and sometimes have a hint of floral taste.

The most recognizable flavors include elderflower, peach, citrus, and apricot. Whilst it is very sweet, this is not overpowering or overwhelming. This means that it pairs well with a number of different dishes and recipes.

It is widely known that wine should be paired with complementary flavors. As such, you can expect Moscato wine to pair very well with sweet dishes and desserts. It is often known as a dessert wine, especially if you get the sparkling version.

That being said, it is no secret that this wine is very versatile perhaps because of its light taste. With this in mind, there are a handful of savory recipes which would not taste out of place with a glass of Moscato. In fact, it pairs particularly well with Asian cuisines such as Thair and Chinese dishes.

Some of our favorite meals and snacks to enjoy with Moscato wine include fruit tarts, fruit salad, baked desserts and cakes (it pairs especially well with coffee and walnut cake), Thai curries, hazelnut dessert dishes, meringue, and salt and pepper beef.

What to Choose

Now that you know all about both Rosé wine and Moscato wine, we are sure you feel a little more confident when it comes to choosing a wine to suit a particular dish. Wait, what?

Do you still need more help? Ok...so, in this section of the article we are going to be exploring, in more detail, what wine you should choose for what dish.

Both Rosé and Moscato are excellent wines in their own right, and both pair well with a variety of different recipes. We want to explain early on in this article that, whilst we can advise you on what wine is best, it doesn’t really matter what we or any other expert tells you.

The best wine is the wine that you and your guests will enjoy. So, even if a Rosé would pair better with your recipe than any other, if you prefer a Moscato then you should choose that.

That being said, if you love both and are still none the wiser on what to choose, then this guide will be helpful.

If you are planning a dinner party and want more of a well-rounded wine that will pair well with very meaty dishes and more hearty meals, then Rosé is definitely the best choice. It is very versatile, and you can buy some that are less sweet to suit those guests that do not have a sweet tooth. It is light, making it perfect for spring or summer dinner parties.

On the other hand, Moscato wine is the perfect choice as an aperitif, perhaps with some hors d'oeuvres.

You may also want to serve a nice, chilled glass of sparkling pink Moscato at the end of a light meal instead of dessert if you are serving people who do not eat dessert.

Likewise, it pairs well with many desserts so you could serve it alongside a tart or meringue based dessert if you wish.

Comparison Between Rosé and Moscato

In this final section of the article, we wanted to provide you with a handy table to which you can refer when you are trying to decide between either a Rosé or Moscato wine.

In this, we will tell you all of the important information you might need. 

 

Rosé 

Moscato

Alcohol content (%)

12%

Between 5 and 12%

Color varieties

Pink

White, golden, pink, or red

Grapes varieties

A large variety can be used as a solo or blended wine. These include Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache, Pinot Noir, and many more 

Muscat only 

Flavor profile

Subtle and smooth, accompanied by fruit undertones 

Sweet, fizzy, and fruity 

Pairs well with 

Fish dishes, salads with chicken, lamb, and fruit tarts 

Desserts and Asian cuisine 

Dry or sweet

The darker the Rosé, the dryer the taste 

Sweet, especially the sparkling version 

Calories per glass

Around 83 on average 

127 on average 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Moscato a Rosé Wine?

Moscato is not a rosé wine, and they are actually two different beverages. While both rosé and pink moscato have a similarly rosy colored appearance, the way in which they get their coloring are different.

Rose will get its color from a process called maceration, yet pink moscato is a combination of white and red grapes. As well as this, moscato is a sweeter wine and rose is much drier.

The reason that they are often confused is typically due to the coloring of the drink. You can get pink moscato, which people may mistake as a rose, but it is actually a wine that has been made from the Muscat Blanc grape, and it includes a little Merlot.

Its composition is much more varied, which means that pink moscato features a variety of flavors, including rich caramel and vanilla notes paired with fruitier flavors, like nectarine, peach, and citrus.

Are Rosé Wines Sweet or Dry?

Rosé wines are typically known for their fruity flavor, but they do often have a dry finish. The flavor of rosé wine is much more subtle and tame in comparison to a red wine, and you may detect a hint of citrus mixed in with some strawberry, cherry, and raspberry undertones.

Rosé wines are perfect for the spring and summer, and they are best served chilled, providing a refreshing vibrancy that fits in with the warmer weather.

The majority of rosé wines are quite versatile, and they go with a variety of different foods. These types of wine are known for their lighter body and delicate flavor, which makes them perfect for almost any meal.

The flavor profile of rose is often fresh, fruity, and crisp. You can expect flavors like flowers, citrus, fruit, and more, and each type of rose will taste different.

Essentially, the taste of the rose will depend on the types of grapes that were used to make it, ranging from sweet to dry.

What’s the Difference Between Pink and White Moscato?

Pink moscato is actually quite similar to white moscato. Pink moscato is a sweet wine with a bubbly finish, and it is typically found to have notes of peach and apricot, as well as hints of berry, pomegranate, and cherry.

Something that you might not have known is that pink moscato is actually a white moscato with a small amount of red grapes that are added to the mix to create a different flavor. So, this is the only real difference between the two types of wine.

Is Rosé Wine Sweeter Than White?

Yes, rosé wine is typically sweeter than white wine. Rosé wines can vary anywhere from really sweet to really dry, as there are so many different types of rose to choose from.

The rosé wine variants that are much older are typically known for being quite dry, but the newer variants are generally much sweeter.

It all depends on the place in which they were made, as things like the soil, weather, personal choices, and climate can all have an effect on the wine that is produced.

Alternatively, white wines are known to be much less sweet, and not many of them have any sweetness. However, they are known to be sweeter than red wines, which are generally much more bitter.

Rosé wines are typically the better option if you are looking for a wine that is sweet, as they are able to offer both sweetness and often a hint of fruity undertones. Interestingly, the majority of rosé wines are made from red wine grapes, but produced like a white wine.

Summary 

There you have it! Your ultimate guide on the differences between Rosé and Moscato! Thanks for reading. 

Cassie Marshall
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