In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are a few.
Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Master
It's taken awhile, but this is a pretty nice drink..
The catalyst for this idea is the unique, intriguing, and supremely versatile Nebbiolo Moscato which has very many fans once they've been put onto it. To read more about this wine including a review from a couple of years ago you can go here. Many people tend to brush off Moscato as something of a throw away wine for those that don't know any better. And to be fair, many winemakers/accountants make these sweet styles with the same attitude, so perhaps the criticism can to some extent be justified.
Not so at the House of Stump where sweet styles are respected similarly as in European countries such as Germany, France and Italy, where many different wine styles find a place in the course of the day or with the seasons. After all, a bottle of wine is just one glass each between four people (sacrilegiously not counting standard drinks), so we can allow ourselves the privilege of a quarter of an hour in a day for a good sweet and frizzante wine which provides a great opportunity to lighten up for a few moments!
In actual fact the Nebbiolo Moscato is possibly the most technical wine style in the Black Stump stable with exact levels of carbonation, a pressure tested bottle, and a certain amount of good judgement required to achieve the correct sugar/acid balance as with any sparkling wine. It is today's technology that opens up the possibilities to make these wine styles with confidence. Not a hit and miss affair as in Italy many years ago where these styles containing sugar had a limited shelf life and would have to be consumed probably within a year.
Even though the Nebbiolo Moscato isn't as sweet as most Moscato or soft drinks, a lot of the effort in designing the drinks has been about how to make the wine cocktails taste drier. For this purpose the award winning Black Stump Viognier, and Nebbiolo have been used. The Viognier enhances softness and aromatics, whilst the Nebbiolo adds intensity and a little more tannin. They are both bone dry and so the sugar content of the base can generally be halved.
It's important that the wines harmonise easily with each other and these three seem to work very well together. Perhaps because they all came, for the most part from the same vineyard. Maybe it's because Viognier and Nebbiolo are supposedly genetically related at some level. Certainly it is a factor that the same person yours truly made all of them and something to do with the wine finishing, each wine complete and enjoyable in it's own right and more amenable to blending.
The flavour components over the base for this drink are Mandarinho and Campari in just small amounts. I prefer Mandarinho which is rounder to work against the Nebbiolo tannin but if you want to use lemon or lime then perhaps a greater proportion of Viognier relative to Nebbiolo would be recommended.
This is a dry tasting drink although still with about 5.9 g/100 ml sugar by virtue of the Campari which is very sweet and bitter. Just a splash of Campari (5mls instead of 15mls) will dry it our considerably in sugar terms. But a little is essential it helps pull the drink together and gives it an appetising colour. The alcohol level is 14%v/v. The beauty of these wine cocktails is that flavour is not sacrificed with the typically lower alcohols than have many spirits based cocktails. The drinks are longer and more refreshing without the need for dilution with soda water or whatnot.
So this is a drink that might not find favour with a typical moscato drinker who may not like bitter, but in fact with those that favour drier drinks. This is one of my favorites although I still like to drink the Nebbiolo Moscato on it's own some nights after work instead of a beer. For those that don't particularly like the bitter taste at all, then just don't add it - the drink still works.
Finally it's quite intense layering of flavours means that it can handle plenty of ice, and big ice blocks not crushed ice are recommended - the goal is to keep the drink cold not dilute it too quickly. This is not a concentrated spirit where dilution is sometimes looked for by using crushed ice.
Personally, nor do I want to adulterate the blend with fruit or soda water or other cheap mixers. Each of these individual wine components has been filtered for the benefit of the texture and taste, and so my winemaker's somewhat purist mentality is not to want to make the drink turbid again by using unrefined elements - to my mind this would be a step backwards in the process.
RECIPE FOR THE VERVE
For a 150ml Drink on big block ice mix in this order (yes, the correct order is important) ;
Nebbiolo Moscato 60mls
Nebbiolo Off-Dry 30mls
RF Mandarinho 15mls
Campari 15mls max
Nebbiolo Moscato 60mls
Nebbiolo Off-Dry 15mls
RF Lemon or Lime Fresco 15mls
Campari 15mls max
The components can be bought in a mixed pack for your home bar or entertainment area.