On the Jewish food scene: Dry or sweet?

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When I was at a friend’s for dinner several years ago, she asked me if I would like dry or sweet wine with my meal. Although I had developed a taste for dry wine (which was considered more sophisticated when I was young), I opted for sweet. It was love at first sip and I’ve never been able to appreciate dry wine since. What wine did she gave me? It was called Moscato and I’d never heard of it before that night.

For those who have never tasted Moscato, it’s not sweet like the wine many of us drank as children. (In my youth, children were allowed to drink wine at a kiddush, just like adults.) Those wines usually added sugar to up the sweetness content. I find most Moscato wines lightly sweet – just enough to take away the bitterness of most dry or even semi-sweet wines. Of course, not everyone will agree on what is sweet or dry: another friend and I laughed recently when we had the opposite reaction to the same wine. She thought it was too sweet, and I found it dry and almost bitter.

I soon discovered there was more than one type of Moscato and they all taste slightly different. I had never tried one of the flavored variations until I received a sample of MYX Beverages’ MYX Fusions Watermelon Moscato. The wine is available in single-serve or full-size bottles and is gluten-free and OU kosher certified. As with most Moscato wines, it doesn’t contain much alcohol: this version is only 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, which I appreciate. I’ve never tried the peach, mango or coconut versions, but thought the new watermelon one offered sounded like fun. (Yes, as I’ve mentioned before, I love sampling food and drink.) 

I brought a chilled bottle (as recommended) to a Sukkot gathering I attended and received the reactions I expected: those who prefer dry wines thought it was too sweet. Others thought someone who liked sweet wines would enjoy it. I actually thought it was a bit on the dry side with the watermelon taste coming through at the end almost as an aftertaste. For those who like sweetish – especially flavored – wines, this could be a fun addition to a meal or for use as a dessert wine.