Kitchn Love Letters

The $14 Spanish Bottle of White Our Wine Expert Is Buying at Costco All Summer Long

published 3 days ago
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Credit: Trong Nguyen

This scorcher of a summer requires even more chilled white wine than usual — if anyone needs me, I’ll be drinking Botani’s zingy, aromatic Old Vine Moscatel while laying under the air conditioner vent until September. Before you click away, let me assure you that this is not a sweet wine (although I’m not afraid of a little residual sugar, and you shouldn’t be, either), but rather a dry wine made from a grape variety that’s better known for its use in sweet wines.

One of the best ways to find value in wine is to look for unusual or up-and-coming grape varieties and regions. If mainstream American consumers can’t pronounce a wine, or worse, think it might make them look unsophisticated, it’ll languish on shelves for months and eventually be discounted. I spent years managing wine stores and doing this very dance, so trust me. This summer, let sugar-phobic consumers’ loss be your gain and give this dry moscatel a try!

Credit: Diane McMartin

What’s So Great About Botani Old Vines Moscatel?

Botani’s Old Vine Moscatel comes from Andalusia, a region on Spain’s Mediterranean coast best known for fortified wines that range from sweet to dry (Sherry is the most famous example, but there are others). Unfortunately, dessert and fortified wines aren’t as popular as they used to be, so the winemakers in this region have had to experiment with other wine styles.

Fortunately for us, these grapes make delicious dry wines, and Botani’s is one of the first of this new wave of dry wines made from this region. The aromas are typical of moscatel — orange blossom, peaches, white flowers, and a little lime zest — with a flamboyant, almost perfumy quality that I just love.

On the palate it’s dry and bursting with those same zesty lime flavors, with a little just-ripe nectarine and honeysuckle. It’s not heavy, but it’s full-bodied enough to stand up to pretty flavorful food. The finish is so dry and lip-smacking that it’s almost salty. If you like torrontes, gewürztraminer, or New Zealand sauvignon blanc, you will love this. 

These vineyards are also practicing organic and are dry farmed, so you’re getting a lot of wine for your money! Costco’s $13.99 price is one of the best I’ve seen for this vintage from a big, reputable retailer. (If you’re not a member or live in an area where Costco doesn’t sell alcohol, you can still find it online for a few dollars more.)

Moscatel (or muscat in French, or moscato in Italian — same grape, different names) is one of the oldest vitis vinifera varieties and the sub-variety used in this wine, Muscat of Alexandria, is thought to have originated in Egypt before making its way to what is now Spain. It’s had a long time to travel all over the wine growing regions of the Mediterranean, inspiring different styles of wine from sweet to dry and still to sparkling. Hopefully this modern iteration of dry moscatel will inspire more wine drinkers to enjoy this ancient grape variety and all its beautiful aromas.

What’s the Best Way to Serve Botani Old Vines Moscatel?

Because of its assertive flavors and refreshing finish, this is the perfect wine to serve with summer dishes full of aromatic herbs like basil and mint. Think homemade panzanella, a classic caprese, or a composed salad with peaches, tomato and herbs. Sit outside during a golden sunset with some beautiful summer produce on your plate and this wine in your glass and feel smug that you’re such a savvy shopper. 

Find it in stores: Botani Old Vines Moscatel 2022, $13.99 for 750 mL at Costco

Are you picking up wine at Costco this summer? Tell us about it in the comments.