In our neo-prohibitionist American culture, a glass of wine before noon is frowned upon, but not so in Europe. In the Piedmont region of Italy, moscato is the wine of choice for weekend brunches. In America, it is the fastest-growing wine variety, exploding in its popularity, and with good reason. The supple sweetness characteristic in these often lightly sparkling wines (frizzante) appeals to a nation of cola drinkers. The low alcohol level (typically around 5 percent) is a nice plus if you want a second glass. Moscato is the perfect wine to serve with your Mother's Day brunch.
2010 Bella Sera Moscato, $7.99
Light but lovely stone fruit and green apple aromas mark this lively moscato. On the palate, there's just the softest bit of fizz that fades quickly, but the supple fruit flavors more than compensate. There's mango, lime, apple and apricot in this well balanced, just-sweet, food-friendly white. Topped with a screw cap to preserve freshness, this is an amazing value.
2010 Elio Perrone Moscato d'Asti, $13.99
This is a beautifully scented wine filled with peach, melon and strawberry aromas. A good dose of spritz adds texture to this wine, which weighs in somewhere between the other two in terms of sweetness. It's an elegantly refined wine with luscious strawberry flavors that are nicely balanced by crisp citrus.
2010 Vignaioli Santo Stefano Moscato d'Asti, $21
Floral rose petal and dried apricot aromas lead off, followed by ripe fruit flavors that are a sweet mix of peach and papaya. Light acidity and a persistent tingle of tiny bubbles help to add balance on the finish. This wine is best on its own as a supple aperitif or with fruit-based deserts (think peach or apple tart). The winery, founded in 1976, is owned by the Ceretto family, which has three generations of wine experience in Piedmont.