Riesling Vs Moscato

Riesling Vs Moscato — What’s The Difference?

For those just discovering the world of wine, Riesling and Moscato are often recommended as the best wines to start with. But are these two types of wine similar, or are they quite different?

What is the difference between Riesling and Moscato? Both are sweeter wines that are famous for their fruity, aromatic flavor notes. Riesling has a fuller taste, while Moscato has a lighter and sweeter taste. Both are commonly sold as white wine, but they can be found in other varieties as well.

Read on to find out how these often underrated wines compare when it comes to flavor, aroma, strengths, and what food pairs well with them.

Whether you like sweeter wines or not, we guarantee you’ll be tempted to try them!

What Is Riesling?

German Riesling is a type of wine that originated nearly 600 years ago. It has a date of birth of March 13th 1435, and it is celebrated every year on this day!

The sale of Riesling vines was documented on this date, and Riesling enthusiasts are celebrating this time-honored beverage.

In spite of this, Riesling can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Riesling grape vines thrive in cooler climates, such as Germany, Washington State, and New York, and are used for the production of this wine.

The sweetness of Riesling wine varies depending on the wine-making technique and the climate in which it is produced.

There are several types of Rieslings, including sweet ones, off-dry ones, dry ones, and sparkling ones. The German term for sparkling Riesling is ‘Sekt’.

What Is Moscato?

If you learn about the history of Moscato, you would never believe that Riesling has a birthday!

Wine made from Muscat grapes, the first table grapes and wine grapes cultivated by humans, dates back to the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks.

The Muscat grape, while it doesn’t have a birthday, can claim to be the oldest grape still in production.

Moscato is primarily made from Muscat Blanc grapes, one of many different Muscat grape varieties.

To make different types of Moscato, these grapes are often blended with other types of Muscat grapes.

In the same way as Riesling, Moscato wines are made in several different styles, depending on the grape variety used.

There are several varieties of Moscato, but the most common is sweet white Moscato, although you may also come across sweet red Moscato, lightly fizzy pink Moscato, and sparkling Moscato, more commonly referred to as Asti Spumante.

One of the most commonly available dessert wines is Moscato sweet wine!

Key Differences

Let’s compare some of the differences between Riesling and Moscato now that we know a bit about their history and varieties.


Moscato and Riesling have many similarities when it comes to flavor, but they differ in some important ways. Both have a fruity flavor, but Moscato has more intensity.

Different types of wine taste differently not just because of the grape varieties used, but also because of their strength, acidity, and sweetness.

There are several main flavors of Riesling wines, including pineapple, apple, pear, and apricot. Citrus fruit and honey can also be detected.

Many wine enthusiasts describe Riesling as a wine with complex flavors and aromas, more suited to adults.

Moscato is a good choice for people who have become accustomed to drinking sweet wines but wish to introduce themselves to drier wines. Riesling is a richer and more intense wine than Moscato.

The fruity flavor of Moscato wines, in contrast, is often light, with hints of peach and citrus. Many people also detect hints of honey.

The Moscato wine has a very fresh, light flavor and is often considered the perfect choice for a novice wine drinker.

A great thing about Moscato is that it tastes fresh and light, no matter how sweet or dry it is. When people try wine for the first time, they are often put off by the strong, overpowering taste.

A Moscato is a great choice for acclimating your palate to the flavor of wine before trying more complex varieties.

Riesling can be compared to drinking fresh homemade lemonade, whereas Moscato is more like drinking peach juice.

Dry Or Sweet?

Both Riesling and Moscato wines are considered sweet wines. They are one of the best ways to introduce yourself to sweet wines.

This means they don’t have the dry mouth feel that puts many first-time wine drinkers off. They have light flavors with a low tannin content.

Generally speaking, Moscato tends to be sweeter than Riesling, but it will depend on the particular variety that you choose. Both wines are designed for a refreshing, easy drinking experience with a hint of sweetness.

The following is a quick guide to the different varieties of wine and their sweetness levels:

  • It is one of the sweetest wines you can buy and usually contains around 100 grams of residual sugar per liter. It is typically served with desserts.

  • The sweet flavor of Sweet Riesling is perfectly balanced for a light, refreshing beverage with complex taste notes.

  • A white Moscato wine is made from a blend of Muscat Blanc grapes and other Moscato grape varieties, making it sweeter than most other white wines.

  • As a sweet red wine, Red Moscato has a dark fruity flavor with spicy and floral notes.

  • Having a floral aroma and flavors of red berries, Pink Moscato is a rosé-style sweet wine.

  • While sparkling Moscato is drier than white Moscato, it is slightly sweeter than most sparkling wines.

  • Known as ‘Sekt’, sparkling Riesling is a semi-sweet fizzy wine.

  • A very subtle sweetness and moderate acidity characterize off-dry Riesling.

  • The flavor of dry Riesling is completely different from that of sweet Riesling since it has been matured for several years.


Wine’s scent is often the first criterion brought up in a blind tasting. After all, the aroma of a wine is the very first thing we notice before we even start to taste it. Riesling and Moscato are both known for their flowery fragrances, which are often compared to those of roses and other white flowers.

The aroma of Riesling is reminiscent of nectarine, apricot, apple, and pear, all of which are common orchard fruits. Honeycomb, jasmine, and maybe even a touch of lime peel are some of the sweeter notes that could be detected.

As a side note, Riesling frequently has a chemical aroma, like petrol or petroleum wax. Don’t freak out; this doesn’t indicate that the wine contains any harmful substances. The molecule responsible for the aroma, termed TDN, also plays a role in the Riesling’s overall flavor.

One of the few wines that actually has a grape scent, Moscato is a bit of an outlier in this regard. Wine experts tend to focus on the more nuanced flavor notes, which may seem unrelated to the fruit from which the wine is formed to the uninitiated.

On the other hand, the scent of grapes is apparent in Moscato. Additionally, Moscato typically has a significantly more robust scent than Riesling. Scents of orange blossoms, peach, and tropical fruits may be discernible.

Which Is Most Acidic?

How acidic a bottle of wine is probably wouldn’t even enter your head if you were thinking about purchasing it. However, acidity is a key component of wine flavor, particularly in the case of sweet wines.

Similar to lemonade, riesling has an acidity level that is relatively high. The wine’s sweetness is wonderfully balanced by this acidity. Due to its greater amounts of acid, Riesling does not typically have an overpowering sweetness.

Because the acidity in Moscato wines is minimal, the sweetness is able to stand out. This usually helps someone who is trying wine for the first time enjoy Moscato more. Wine’s acidity content may have an impact on how well it ages. Wine aging is a fine art, and no matter how much time is spent in the cellar, a bottle of wine won’t get better if the acidity levels are off.

In fact, wine that has minimal levels of acidity should not be aged at all and is best consumed when it is still young and fresh. Due to its high acidity and sweetness, riesling is a great wine to store for a long time.

This explains why the German elite historically favored Riesling so much. A high-caliber, well-aged Riesling was widely coveted. Moscato, on the other hand, does not age well because of its low acidity.

This is especially true with Moscato effervescent varieties like Asti and Spumante. These should be consumed while they are still fresh and young because there is no advantage to storing them for years in the cellar.

Just Moscato is covered by this; other wines made from Muscat grapes are not. You might find several-year-old vintage varieties of wine made from muscat grapes.

Alcohol Content

Moscato is popular among new wine drinkers not only because it is sweet, light, and refreshing, but also because of its low alcohol content. Moscato has one of the lowest alcohol content levels of any wine, at around 6% ABV. The lower the alcohol content, in general, the sweeter the Moscato. As a result, a dry Moscato can have an ABV of up to 10%.

This makes Moscato an excellent choice for those attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption or who simply want one or two glasses of low-alcohol wine with their meal. Moscato is a sweet wine for the same reason it has a low alcohol content.

The sugars in grape juice are converted to alcohol during the fermentation process to make wine. When Moscato is fermented, it is stopped before all of the sugar is converted to alcohol.

The end result is a lightly sweet wine with a low alcohol content. It is still important to remember that Moscato is an alcoholic beverage and should be consumed in moderation.

Riesling has a higher alcohol content than Moscato, ranging between 8 and 9% ABV. This figure varies greatly depending on the wine’s sweetness and maturity. A well-aged dry Riesling with a high ABV can reach 13%.

Riesling’s higher alcohol content, as well as its acidity, tend to cut through the wine’s natural sweetness. As far as sweet wines go, this one is extremely well-balanced, with a smooth, rounded palate.

Food Pairings

Because they don’t know what to pair them with, many people avoid sweeter wines. We are all aware that beef should be served with a robust red and that fish and seafood pair best with a crisp white. However, what should you do with a sweet Riesling or Moscato bottle? These two wines’ complex flavors, like those of all wines, work better with some foods than others.

The general rule is that the wine should always be sweeter than the food when paired with food. Riesling and Moscato could therefore theoretically go well with just about anything! Although it may seem strange to say, sweeter white wines go incredibly well with spicy food. The perfect complement to spicy foods is sweet alcohol, which has a low alcohol content.

Surprisingly, Riesling and Moscato pair well with sauces that are sweet and sour. And Riesling has the additional advantage of having more acidity, which makes it a great wine to pair with fatty or greasy foods like duck confit. Additionally true to their names, Moscato and Riesling pair well with cakes, sweet dishes, and fruity desserts.

Some more daring pairings include Riesling with a fiery Thai salad and Moscato with cheese or honey-glazed ham. Whatever you serve with your sweeter white wine, keep it simple and light. Rich, potent flavors will overpower these fruity, smooth wines. Alternatively, on a hot summer day, sip your Riesling or Moscato by itself, served extremely chilled. Just delicious!

So What’s The Difference, Really?

You might be wondering why we are concerned with things like acidity and alcohol content when comparing wines. The reason for this is that many factors influence the taste of wine, not just the grape from which it is made!

Wines with high acidity balance out sweetness far better than those with low acidity. This means that you could have a Riesling and a Moscato with the same residual sugar levels, but the Riesling would appear less sweet.

When we increase the alcohol levels, the same thing happens. Riesling typically contains slightly more alcohol than Moscato, making it feel slightly heavier and less sweet on the palate. Although both Riesling and Moscato are sweet and fruity wines, Riesling is more rounded and full-bodied, whereas Moscato is lighter, fresher, and sweeter.

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