Wine is a great drink to pass the time with after having a busy day at work. For a casual or first-time drinker, purchasing wine is fraught with anxiety. Because there are many bottles to select from, most of them falling under the “good enough” category, the buyer becomes paralyzed to act.
Selecting wine can depend on factors, including price, taste, or physical aspects like wine color and smell. Moscato d’Asti is an Italian wine that ticks most of these boxes. Who can resist its brilliant bottles? Not Falling in love with Moscato d’Asti hard. Any wine drinker enjoys having a glass of this Italian white wine, especially during summer. In this post, you will learn more about this quality wine, its origins, what it is, and its benefits.
What is Moscato d’Asti?
Moscato d’Asti is lightly sparkling (Frizzante) and sweet wine with low alcohol contents from Piedmont, northwestern Italy. As its name implies, Moscato d’Asti is made from the Moscato grapes grown in the vineyards near the Italian town of Asti. They also grow the grapes in regions near Asti, in Cuneo and Alessandria’s Provinces. The wine falls under the highest production category in Italy: DOCG. A bottle of classic Moscato d’Asti has a remarkable aroma, characterized by various floral aromas of orange blossom, elderflower, and honeysuckle. The wine also has luscious fruity notes of apricot, fresh grape juice, and tones of peach.
Although the wine is hardly more different from another iconic wine style in Piedmont, the red, robust Barolo, Moscato d’Asti, is among the famous wines in Italy. The best producers of Moscato d’Asti are Castello del Poggio, Paolo Saracco, Chiarlo Villa Rinaldi, and Massolimo.
The wine has a bright, rich palate with a fine mousse. It has low levels of acidity that balance its sweetness together with bubbles. Buy a well-produced Moscato d’Asti, and you might never stop enjoying the drink. Drinking a glass of Moscato d’Asti is out of this world. The wine is economical, retailing at $12-$17 a bottle. It is regarded as a dessert wine.
Where Does Moscato d’Asti Wine Come From?
Moscato d’Asti wine is made using among the oldest Italian grapes; Moscato Bianco. The grape has been in the Piedmont area for many decades, with its first records dating back to the 13th century, although modern production began in the 1870s.
The grapes are grown on the hilltops of Asti in Piedmont and Montferrat. Moscato d’Asti is produced by small producers who organize themselves in small batches. The principal production zone for Moscato d’Asti is in the hills in southern Asti. It Measures about 30 miles from West to East, covering about 50 communes of Asti, Alessandria, and Cuneo provinces.
Asti region is within the Piedmont appellation. The region has mild climates under the influence of the Mediterranean Sea, with cool summers and warm winters. The terroir mainly comprises clay, calcareous sediments, sand, and limestone.
How Is Moscato d’Asti Made?
The sweet and slightly sparkling (Frizzante) wine is produced using the Asti method. The method helps preserve the fruity aromas and freshness of the Moscato grapes. When the grape ripens, they are manually harvested and transported to the vineyard carefully. They are then crushed gently to preserve their floral aromas.
The grape must (grape juice from freshly pressed grapes) be kept at temperatures below zero degrees Celsius to slow the process of fermentation. Charmat-Martinotti method is usually used in the fermentation of the grape juice inside stainless steel tanks that are pressurized.
When the alcohol content in the wine reaches five percent, the temperatures are decreased to freezing levels to prevent the yeast from converting the sugar into alcohol. The wine, therefore, retains high levels of residual sugar at around 100g per liter. Carbon dioxide is the byproduct produced by the process of fermentation. Since some of this carbon dioxide is trapped within the tank, it creates slight fizziness. Like every frizzante wine, Moscato d’Asti requires a pressure of about 1 atmosphere at the least.
Although secondary fermentation is typical during the production of most sparkling wines made in line with the traditional method, it is not included in the Asti method. Winemakers must ferment the wine for a second time directly in the bottle or tanks in the traditional winemaking method. Asti spumante is the other renowned wine that uses the Asti winemaking method. However, Moscato d’Asti is different from Asti spumante in a couple of ways. Asti spumante is much drier, fully sparkling with at least 5 atmospheres of pressure. It also has a higher alcohol level (about 9% ABV) compared to Moscato d’ Asti. You must know the two are different.
How Does Moscato d’Asti Taste?
A glass of Moscato d’Asti takes you on an adventurous journey of flavors. A gentle fizz (Frizzante) and a low alcohol content characterize it, making it have a fairy to light sweet taste. The characteristic makes the wine to be used as an apéritif and a dessert wine. The effervescence brings out the notes of fresh fruits and tones down the wine’s sweetness.
The wine’s flavors are usually peachy, drone fruits, tangerine, and tropical fruits. Moscato d’Asti has a lively acidity and a delicately complex aroma. Other tropical tastes in this quality wine include dried apricots and oranges. The other fruits also present on the palate include; apricot, apple, and pear. In a nutshell, a high-quality Moscato d’Asti not only has lots of fruits and sweets but also contains enough acidity to keep it in balance.
How Does The Wine Age?
You can best enjoy Moscato d’Asti when young because its aromas are still fresh with a vibrant taste. Thus, ensure you go for the most recent vintages. If stored properly, Moscato d’Asti wine can age for up to 5 years. Moscato d’Asti develops bouquets of aroma that are more complex and a deep golden color within a few years.
How To Store And Age Moscato d’Asti Wine
- Store wine at a consistent temperature between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius
- If stored properly in a dark and cool place, you can age the wine for up to 5 years. Ensure you keep it on its side or on the rack to prevent cork damage
- A bit of air does go a long way in aging Moscato d’Asti. You can remove the wine from its original corks and replace it with a fresh cork, seal with a stopper to re-seal it
- The bottle should be stored at an angle to let the wine breathe; this also helps in removing sediment that can accumulate at the bottom of the bottle while aging
- To remove sediment, wait for about 30 minutes after removing the cork. Pour wine carefully, holding the bottle on an angle with one hand and using a decanting device or fine strainer in the other hand to catch the sediment.
Moscato d’Asti Food Pairing
Moscato d’Asti is considered a dessert wine typically. However, its Versatility makes the wine best for an entire meal because it is never cloying and is lightly sweet. With delicate tastes and aromas reminiscent of apricot orange blossom, peach, lemon, or sage, the wine is superb when served chill on its own. It can be served with deep-fried vegetables or several antipasti varieties, like a melon with Mortadella, Prosciutto, cheddar, or blue cheese.
The Sweetness in the wine offset the spicy taste of the summer dishes like grilled meat served with spices or a barbecue sauce laced with chili pepper. Moscato d’Asti pairs well with desserts: creamy desserts, fruit pies, berries, chocolate, shuffles, and meringues. When pairing Moscato d’ Asti with desserts or pastries, remember to serve it in a smaller glass. A small tasting glass will allow the flavors of the Moscato d’Asti to be showcased and give you time to take a break before trying the next taste.
The soft bubbles in the wine go easy on the Palate and do not overwhelm the subtle flavors of the dish aggressively. In the Asti region, you will find people pair Moscato D’Asti with a grilled shrimp topped with crispy sage leaves.
Moscato d’Asti is an excellent aperitif wine. It also pairs well with cured meats and canapés, soft creamy cheeses such as Brillat-Savarin from France or Bavarian Havarti from Germany, pine nuts, including roasted ones. If you are throwing a party and want to come up with an impressive menu, pair sparkling wine with a cheese course. Serve Moscato d’Asti with gougères or fried soup. The gentle bubbles cleanse the palate after each bite of this rich combination.
Do you want a refreshing summer drink? Pour Moscato d’Asti over ice muddled with lemon slices and fresh sage leaves. It will be your best cocktail.
Do you want the best summer drink? Then, Moscato d’Asti should be on top of your list. Its smooth sweet taste and Vibrant, rich flavors make Moscato d’Asti among the most loved Italian wines. You can pair the drink with many foods for breakfast or lunch during summer. If you are grilling some barbecue, a glass of Moscato d’Asti will make the flavor even sweeter.
However, if you plan to invest in the wine for a longer-term, Moscato d’Asti is not the best option. The wine is enjoyed best when young, meaning you should have fast-flowing stock. On the brighter side, your customers may love the wine buy it over and over from your wine shop.