A Boston based wine blogger, Jennifer Martin is the author of Vino Travels where she shares her love for Italy and Italian wines. She's been to Italy 7 times and she even got married in Tuscany in 2013. She grew up in an Italian-American family, has studied abroad in Italy while in college and wine has always been part of her life. Follow Jennifer through the wineries she explores and enjoy this guest post about Moscato d'Asti!
|Alba Wine Roads - Barbaresco and Moscato d'Asti Road.... just the average road sign in the Langhe wine district|
I don't know about you, but I have a sweet tooth and when I can combine that need with wine it's a win win situation. The solution, Muscat. There are many varieties of grapes from the Muscat family, but one of the most popular is Muscat Bianc a' Petits Grains, which is the grape that makes up Moscato d'Asti. This variety is also known as moscato bianco in Italy or Moscato Canelli with Canelli being one of the main locations near Asti in Italy where it's produced.
|Moscato D'Asti DOCG map courtesy of Consorzio del Moscato d'Asti DOCG|
Moscato bianco can be found in other areas of Italy, but is mostly known for being produced out of Asti in the northwestern region of Italy known as Piedmont. The hills located southeast out of Asti are where most of the production comes from including Canelli, Santo Stefano Belbo and Neviglie.
You may have heard of Asti Spumante, most commonly because of Martini & Rossi, but there is a difference between spumante and frizzante. Frizzante typically has an alcohol level of about 5-6% because of the fermentation being stopped. This creates smaller bubbles that are typically softer and sweeter. With spumante the alcohol levels climb up around 9% so this creates more effervescence and less sweetness, but these wines are usually aromatic. With these wines you'll get hints of peach, apricot, honeysuckle and sometimes orange, but without the balance of acidity you won't have a nice expression of the wine.
|In Asti every September there's a very famous medieval palio with horses and flag throwers|
Pairing Moscato d'Asti with food I would typically go more for dessert, but be careful not to pair it with something too sweet as you don't want to overpower the sweetness in the wine. In the past to celebrate my mother's birthday I came home from the North End, Italian section of Boston, with a fruit tart and a bottle of Moscato d'Asti. That was a fantastic pairing and they complemented each other well. You could also do just some fresh fruit, panettone or biscotti. Some folks do pair it with salads and cheeses as an apertif. You'll find this wine to be very refreshing, but make sure to drink it young. Cin cin!
|Typical Asti street|
Follow Jennifer on her website Vino Travelsand on Twitter: @VinoTravels21