In the world of wines, there is a plethora of types and classifications that each have a devoted fanbase. Due to their wide popularity, Moscato and Chardonnay are no exception.
Moscato vs. Chardonnay is a topic that is often dissected by wine enthusiasts, both novice and expert, because of their versatility. Understanding each of their unique qualities will give you a deeper appreciation and a much more pleasurable drinking experience.
If you are struggling to make a decision on which bottle to get, this article serves as a guide to equip you with all the information needed to make an informed purchase.
We’ll provide comprehensive insights into everything you need to know about Moscato vs. Chardonnay and help you make the right choice based on your preferences. Let’s get started!
Moscato vs. Chardonnay Comparison
Moscato and Chardonnay are both white wines with certain similarities and many key differences that make them special in their own ways.
This section covers all the fundamental aspects of each wine and, from there, explores how and when they are best enjoyed.
Origins and Production
Although Moscato and Chardonnay have been around for centuries, many vineyards in different parts of the world create their own renditions which are then mass-produced and widely distributed internationally.
Moscato: Moscato is known to have originated in ancient Egypt but was eventually associated with the Piedmont region of Italy.
Today, it is being made in Italy, Spain, Australia, Germany, South Africa, and California in the United States.
Chardonnay: The history of Chardonnay dates back to the Middle Ages but is known to have originated in Burgundy, France.
Today, it is being made in France, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and areas like the Sonoma Coast in the United States.
Terroir simply refers to the environmental growing conditions that shape and influence the characteristics of a particular wine.
In the winemaking process, both Moscato and Chardonnay grapes respond well to their specific terroirs.
Moscato: Depending on the desired flavor and style, Moscato grapes thrive in warm to hot climates, sandy soils, high altitudes, and lots of sunlight.
Chardonnay: Depending on the desired flavor and style, Chardonnay grapes are more adaptable than Moscato but typically do well in cool climates, loam or clay soil, low altitudes, adequate sunlight, and in close range to bodies of water.
Grapes and Tannin
Both Moscato and Chardonnay are white wine varieties classified under the Vitis vinifera grape vine. They are also similar in that they share low to medium tannin levels.
Moscato: Moscato is made from the Muscat Blanc grape, which are small-sized with thick skins and a grayish-green color.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay is made from the eponymously named Chardonnay grape. It is medium-sized with thin skin and a greenish-yellow color.
Appearance and Characteristics
Moscato and Chardonnay are two undisputed classics in the white wine category. In the fermentation process, either stainless steel vats or oak barrels can be used to shape their characteristics.
Moscato: Moscato wines have low to moderate acidity levels and a light body. They are generally a slightly greenish straw color with gold tones and a refreshing bubbly quality.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines have moderate to high acidity levels and a medium to full body. They are generally a pale yellowish-gold color and exhibit an oaky crispness.
Moscato and Chardonnay both have distinctive aromas and a wide array of scents depending on the winemaking techniques used.
Moscato: Moscato wines exude floral notes of orange blossom, apricots, and peaches with hints of citrus like lemon and lime.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines exude aromas of orchard fruits like green apple, quince, and pear with bright grapefruit notes and hints of vanilla.
The flavor profiles of Mosacato and Chardonnay are greatly determined by their producer’s winemaking style and growing elements like climate and region.
Moscato: Moscato wines are known for their sweet and vibrant fruity flavors. These include tasting notes of apricot, peach, mango, and pineapple.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines have a creamy mouthfeel and flavors of green fruit, honeysuckle, butter, apple, and vanilla.
Sweetness is one of the biggest differences between Moscato and Chardonnay. As a sparkling wine, Moscato has a more pronounced sweetness, while Chardonnay is a dry wine with minimal to no residual sugar.
Moscato: Moscato wines typically have a sweetness level that ranges from 15 – 50+ g/L.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines typically have a sweetness level that ranges from 15 – 30 g/L.
When it comes to alcohol content, Moscato wines have lower levels compared to Chardonnay wines.
Moscato: Moscato wines typically have an alcohol percentage that ranges from 5 – 7%.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines typically have an alcohol percentage that ranges from 10 – 15%.
Storage and Serving
When storing Moscato or Chardonnay bottles, preserving their fragrances and flavors is crucial. The humidity levels in your storage space should ideally be somewhere between 60% and 80%.
Moscato: Moscato wines are ideally served at temperatures of 6 – 8 °C or 43 – 46 °F in a Viognier glass or flute. Bottles have a recommended storing period of up to 2 years.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay wines are ideally served at temperatures of 7 – 13 °C or 45 – 55 °F in a Viognier or Chardonnay glass. Bottles have a recommended storage period of 5 to 7 years.
Moscato wines are generally cheaper than Chardonnay wines, but both are considered to be affordable and relatively inexpensive compared to other wines available on the market.
Moscato: Moscato bottles can cost anywhere from $10 – $20.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay bottles can cost anywhere from $10 – $100+.
Which Is Better: Moscato Or Chardonnay?
Choosing between Moscato and Chardonnay is entirely up to your preferences and can be determined by certain factors.
These include the food pairing and setting or occasion where they are to be consumed.
Both of these wines are flavorful and suitable to drink all year round, but their distinctive qualities really come alive during the warmer months.
Moscato is a delectably light-bodied wine with a sweetness and effervescence that delights the senses. Its lower alcohol content and fruity qualities make it perfect for a casual brunch with friends.
When it comes to food, Moscato is best paired with seafood, spicy Asian cuisine, fruits, certain cheeses, and desserts.
These can include clams, lemon bars, oysters, cheddar, peach cobbler, Parmigiano cheese, fresh berries, pasta, salmon, and shrimp.
Chardonnay is a full-bodied and complex dry wine that can complement and elevate a wide range of dishes. Its versatility makes it perfect for dinner parties, celebrations, and tasting courses with creamy sauces.
When it comes to food, Chardonnay is best paired with grilled seafood, salads, roasted meats, acidic foods, and tangy dishes.
These can include, BBQ ribs, grilled salmon, baked chicken, goat cheese, chicken, brie, veggie risotto, steak, and pork tenderloin.
Summary of the Differences Between Moscato and Chardonnay
|Origins and Production||Known to have originated in ancient Egypt Eventually associated with the Piedmont region of ItalyItaly, Spain, Australia, Germany, South Africa, and California in the United States||Dates back to the Middle Ages Known to have originated in Burgundy, FranceFrance, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and areas like the Sonoma Coast in the United States|
|Terroir||Warm to hot climatesSandy soilsHigh altitudesLots of sunlight||Cool climatesLoam or clay soilLow altitudesAdequate sunlightClose range to bodies of water|
|Grapes and Tannin||Muscat Blanc grapeSmall-sized with thick skins Grayish-green color||Chardonnay grapeMedium-sized with thin skin Greenish-yellow color|
|Appearance and Characteristics||Low to moderate acidity levelsLight bodyGreenish straw color with gold tonesRefreshing bubbly quality||Moderate to high acidity levels Medium to full bodyPale yellowish-gold color Oaky crispness|
|Aroma||Floral notes of orange blossom, apricots, and peaches Hints of citrus like lemon and lime||Orchard fruits like green apple, quince, and pearBright grapefruit notes Hints of vanilla|
|Flavor Profiles||Sweet and vibrant fruity flavorsTasting notes of apricot, peach, mango, and pineapple||Creamy mouthfeel Flavors of green fruit, honeysuckle, butter, apple, and vanilla|
|Sweetness||15 – 50+ g/L||15 – 30 g/L|
|Alcohol Content||5 – 7%||10 – 15%|
|Storage and Serving||Ideally served at temperatures of 6 – 8 °C or 43 – 46 °F Viognier glass or fluteRecommended storing period for up to 2 years||Ideally served at temperatures of 7 – 13 °C or 45 – 55 °F Viognier or Chardonnay glassRecommended storing period of 5 to 7 years|
|Price||$10 – $20||$10 – $100+|
Moscato and Chardonnay are two widely beloved white wines hailed as classics in the best sense of the word. Seasoned and beginner wine enthusiasts alike share a deep affinity for their versatility and universal appeal.
With a rich historical and cultural heritage to them, each brings a distinct charm to the table. Below is a list of their most notable differences:
- Moscato is a sweet and light-bodied wine, while Chardonnay is a dry and complex full-bodied wine
- Moscato is more of a brunch wine, while Chardonnay is more of a dinner wine
- Moscato is best paired with light dishes and desserts, while Chardonnay is best paired with rich and hearty meals
- Chardonnay has a higher alcohol content than Moscato
- Moscato is generally sweeter than Chardonnay
- Moscato has low to moderate acidity levels, while Chardonnay has moderate to high acidity levels
- Moscato has a greenish straw color with gold tones, while Chardonnay has a Pale yellowish-gold color.
Risata Moscato d’Asti
When it comes to brunch wines, this Moscato is your best bet!
It has a distinct lightness in its effervescence and the hints of honey and stone fruits are a perfectly succulent delight with every sip. Pair it with a crepe or french toast and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
Sant’Orsola Moscato d’Asti
This Moscato is one of the best Italian sparkling wines in the market today. What makes it so excellent is that it gives you the best of frizzante and spumante.
There’s an explosion of citrus flavor and floral notes of white blossom and flower petals that is simply irresistible.
2021 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay Carneros
Produced in Napa Valley, this Chardonnay provides a savoriness reminiscent of Burgundian wines.
Due to the French oak barrel fermentation, each subtly allures your tastebuds with its subtle sense of tannin and notes of white licorice. Another fantastic aspect of this Chardonnay is that it’ll age very well for another 10+ years.
2020 Gary Farrell Durell Vineyard Chardonnay
With mature elegance and vivacious energy, the lemony acidity of this Sonoma County Chardonnay reflects the renowned reputation of its vineyard.
Hints of dried apricots, almonds, and a charming spice make this a truly world-class wine.
It is up to your preference and setting. Moscato is a light and sweet bubbly wine that is best paired with light foods and desserts.
Chardonnay is a dry and full-bodied wine with more complexity and is best paired with rich and bold dishes like grilled or smoked meats.
Although Chardonnay and Moscato are both considered sweet wines, Moscato is sweeter because of its higher amount of residual sugar.
No. Chardonnay can be considered a sweet wine but is more appropriately categorized as a dry white wine. There are other sweeter wines available on the market.
Moscato is classified as a white wine and is widely popular as one of the sweetest kinds available.
Some of the smoothest wines to drink are Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay, Moscato, and Sauvignon Blanc because of their low tannin levels.
Moscato wines are considered cheap and affordable because the Moscato winemaking process itself is relatively inexpensive.
For the most part, Muscat vines are easy and simple to grow in a wide range of places and conditions. Barrel, aging, and storage cost requirements are also relatively low.
- Moscato vs Riesling: A Sweet Wine Showdown - December 8, 2023
- Ideal Temp for Red Wine Storage: A Comprehensive Guide - December 6, 2023
- Top 10 Low-Calorie Sparkling Wines for Guilt-Free Enjoyment - December 4, 2023