Learn about our featured regions with our blog from our Sommeliers!
It's that time of year after the festive season which is full of diet resolutions, so we would like to suggest a delicious, light but flavourful drink based on a lightly sparkling, slightly sweet wine from a grape variety which is considered one of the oldest grapes in the world. Moscato Bianco is grown around the town of Asti in the Monferrat area of Piedmont. Let's consider a little of the history and the trend behind this unique style of wine full of lychee, ripened apricot, peach, honeysuckle and exotic floral aromas.
The history of Moscato d'Asti's grape Moscato Bianco (also known as Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) goes back to the time of the Greeks when it was cultivated under the name Antilico, later it was also highly regarded by the Romans under an alias of Apianae after the Italian word Ape (bee) as apparently the grape attracts bees with it's sweet, heavily scented aromas full of ripe apricot and peach which gives the same expression in the vineyards as in the bottles.
As wine365.com states: „In the early 16th century, the Prince of Savoy, who was enamored with Moscato wine, decreed that one-fifth of all vineyard plantings in the area had to be with Moscato Bianco and anyone planting less would be fined. Savoy also stopped all other imports of vines to the area, a turning point in the history of Moscato and one that shows how important the grape was to the region ”
The article also mentions the 'father' of Moscato d'Asti Giovan Battista Croce who developed a way to produce sweet, aromatic wine with low alcohol and he wrote a book entitled 'Of the Excellence and Diversity of Wines That Are Made on the Mountain of Turin and How to Make Them' as a manual for Piedmont winemakers.
Later, in 1932, the Asti Consorzio was founded for a great purpose to protect the land, the grape and the quality of this unique style of wine. The apellation of Moscato d’Asti DOC (Denominazione de Origine Controllata) was born later in 1967 and elevated to DOCG status (Denominazione de Origine Controllata e Garantita) in 1993.
Fun fact: technically Moscato d’Asti is not even a wine. According to the basic definition: wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice with at least 8.5% of alcohol. Moscato d’Asti is one of the few exceptions that can be named wine as the low alcohol is the key part of the style. The modern style of Moscato d’Asti as it is known now began in the 1870s and this frizzante (lightly sparkling) wine was made for the winemakers themselves to enjoy it after a workday.
Moscato d'Asti has a really unique production method unlike any other sparkling or semi-sparkling wine. After the grapes are gently pressed and the juice is separated from the skin, the must is clarified and kept in a very chilled tank (around 0 degrees), until they are ready to commence the fermentation process in pressurized tanks (can't be more than 2.5 bars). As the sugar in the must starts to convert to alcohol, it's monitored until the alcohol level reaches approximately 5.5%, and the wine is then chilled to stop the fermentation and capture the rich flavours. This results in a really fresh, lightly sparkling, fragrant wine which is then bottled to order.
Vinocultura is proud to present 'La Gatta' from Vite Colte, which is a modern winery started in 2016 with the aim of bring quality growers of Terre da Vino brand (one of the most prestigious cooperative wineries in the region) together in a new project. It has earned its fame not just with its wine but with the stunning architectural design which has been reviewed by many magazines.
As the region and the style is currently very much on trend, many celebrity chefs and bartenders support the style with special menus and Moscato d'Asti-based cocktails to reveal the true potential of the style. Try it as an appetizer or to accompany your dessert or try our diet-friendly recommendation of the month: Moscato d'Asti on rocks topped with sparkling water garnished with lemon peel/orange peel. It's low in carbs and deliciously refreshing.
Click on the picture below to visit the product's page and order a bottle or a case!