Moscato d’Asti is a charming and refined effervescent sweet wine that has a strong sense of place. Moscato d’Asti (which means, Moscato of Asti) is produced around the town of Asti in Piemonte, Italy, and is not to be mistaken for the wine called Asti, which is formally known as Asti Spumante.
Unlike Asti Spumante, which is a fully sparkling wine and is produced in larger quantities, Moscato d’Asti is frizzante (lightly sparkling) and best thought of as an artisanal product.
What Moscato d’Asti and Asti have in common is that they are produced from the Moscato Bianco grape—a white grape also called Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains—and they are produced around Asti. Although Asti is a popular drink, Moscato d’Asti is the preferred drink for celebrations, special-occasion picnics, brunch, and the like, because it has greater finesse, lower alcohol (never above 5.5% abv), less fizz, and a more intense palate.
At the renowned Saracco, I was fortunate to taste the cold juice made from the Moscato Bianco grapes and it is the most elegant, heavenly sweet grape juice one could imagine. On tasting Saracco’s Moscato d’Asti from the tank, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of this drink—it was like drinking sunshine.
Moscato d’Asti has aromas of orange blossom, stone fruits, lemon sherbet, musk, and sage. It’s an inviting drink with crisp acidity, and although it is typically drunk young, what I learned at Saracco, is that it can age beautifully. Moscato d’Asti pairs wonderfully with fresh fruits and desserts such as peach tart. It could also be paired with cheeses.
The first Moscato d’Asti I tasted in Piedmont was Felice (which means happy in Italian) by Marchesi Incisa della Rocchetta estate after a home-style lunch with their family, wine maker, and other wine lovers. It was such a joyous occasion and this so aptly named wine made me happy.
Moscato d’Asti embodies happiness and love, and this is perhaps why the world is falling in love with it.
Feature photo: Felice Moscato d’Asti by Marchesi Incisa della Rocchetta estate
Note: These wineries were visited on a wine study tour of Piemonte with the Wine Scholar Guild.