What's the deal with all of the wine on tap we keep seeing in restaurants? Is it better, worse or no different than wine from a bottle?
It is not much different than wine from a bottle. I personally believe, however, that lighter reds (cooler climate pinot noir, grenache, tempranillo) and recent vintage white wines are best suited for kegs. I have not seen too many Cabernets in keg form - perhaps this is a result of the producers of these wines not wanting to manipulate the maturing process and the presentation (aka, if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
Why do some bottles have deep punts/bottoms while others are completely flat? Does the punt have any affect on its taste?
The punt was originally developed to strengthen the bottle. Inexpensive wines have shallow punts to save money as they cost less. Punts are probably unnecessary now because glass is stronger but they remain because of tradition. Also, sommeliers like punts because it allows them to reach farther with the bottle. Punts have zero affect on taste.
Where do you stand on the recent sweet wine/Moscato craze? Is it a matter of knowing the "right" sweet varietals to enjoy? What would those be, in your opinion?
There are many intriguing sweet wines of the world and depending on your preference, different types. I would say the most important aspect of enjoying sweet wines is choosing the right varietals for the right time of the meal.
For example, dessert wines such as Port, Ice Wine, and Auslesse each have a special process by which they are made which lends itself to sweet dessert wines that go well without food such as cakes, gelato, chocolate and soft ripened cheeses in the blue cheese family. Due to the special processes, they are more expensive and can also be enjoyed on their own.
Muscato d'asti and Brachetto are generally made to taste very sweet but have a slight fizz, making them more refreshing. They can be enjoyed as an aperitif, are a nice compliment to dessert and are perfect served cold on a hot day. If you want to go deep, try these wines with Southeastern Asian Cuisine.
Other varietals such as Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Kerner are sweet or off-dry (not so sweet that it can't stand up to a savory course), and can be enjoyed in other parts of the meal, with appetizers or lighter fare. These wines can also be characterized as aromatic.
Thanks, Wine Dude! Readers - keep the wine questions a-comin'!