Moscatel is not very accessible to most mainstream wine carriers, grocery stores, and wine shops. Smirk is exclusively available through Traveling Vineyard (affiliate link). It is an import from Western Cape, South Africa.
When you try to do a search for ‘Moscatel,’ Google thinks you mean ‘Muscatel.’ The only reference I could find says Moscatel is very similar to the Moscato grape. (If you really want to read up on this, check out Lindsay Alston’s post Muscat, Moscato, and Moscatel – Well, What’s the Difference? at Tangoitalia.)
Anyway, not being extremely familiar with this particular varietal, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. I anticipated that it was going to be sweet, since it was considered close the Moscato family.
I opened it up, poured and saw it had a gorgeous pale straw color. It also had a great nose on it with a lot of floral — particularly Rose and Jasmine. There was also a slight essence of gardenia.
Then it up and just punched me in the face with a lot of fruits — oranges and peaches and pears. No kidding, it was just really in your face. I would consider this a great cocktail wine. It wouldn’t really offend anybody and would likely please just about everyone. This would also be a great summer sipper for poolside, beachside, cabana side enjoyment.
I do try to let the wine open up to see how it changes through a two hour window as the evening progresses; sometimes even allowing 24 hours to bring out more of the flavors. However, this wine barely changed from the time that I opened it up to tasting it three hours later or even the next day.
I would put this in the category of “cute girl” wine. Basically it brings to mind a really cute girl learning to play poker for the first time; she keeps showing her hand over and over and over again, but it’s so cute it’s hard to find it annoying .
Smirk, 2014 Moscatel
West Cape south Africa