Don't confuse Moscato d'Asti with Asti wine. One is 'frizzante' the other one is 'spumante'. Both bubbles, but very different ones. Are you still following my Italian? Find out about my tour to Moscato d'Asti DOCG region and learn how this semi-sparkling wine is produced in Piedmont.
What does 'frizzante' stand for?
Frizzante is an Italian term to differentiate the level of 'bubbliness' in wine. To make it clear, it means semi-sparkling. Moscato d'Asti is a semi-sparkling wine, that undergoes only one fermentation (comparing to 'metodo classico' wines with the second fermentation in bottle). Therefore, bubbles are milder, there is quite a lot of residual sugar left (around 100 g/l), which leads to low alcohol level as well. 5,5 % is the maximum limit for Moscato d'Asti wine.
Meanwhile Asti DOC wine is a fully sparkling wine from the same part of Piedmont region - Asti.
History of the appellation
The Italian Moscato wine has quite an interesting story to tell. Originally winemakers were producing this wine for themselves, not for any kind of trade! As the alcohol level is low and bubbles are not that strong, this was an ideal wine to drink during the 'working day' without getting drunk (as water wasn't an option those times). While in the evening they used Moscato as a 'digestivo' - to clean the palate after the meal and before the dessert.
Meanwhile, there are some serious statistics behind the Moscato wine as well. The grape variety - Muscat A Petit Grains or Moscato Bianco is around a thousand years older than Cabernet Sauvignon. It's one of the oldest grapes grown in Piedmont and the modern way of production begun in 1870.
Grapes and terroir of Moscato d'Asti DOCG zone
The wine must be made of 100% Moscato Bianco variety. The grape is known to be very aromatic and sweet, and highly hunted by bees and birds. Many times you might see producers covering their vineyards with nets to protect the harvest.
The typical aromas of Moscato wine are peaches, orange blossom, honeysuckle, lemon, pear, mandarin. Moscato d'Asti is a perfect choice for light drinkers. It's sweet (100 g sugar per liter) but thanks to the bubbly structure you won't feel it too sweet (like one would feel with a glass of Tokaji wine). It's also light in alcohol, again lighter than most of the sweet wines (Port, Sherry, Tokaji, Sauternes) and reaches maximum 5,5 % abv.