So after my extensive research among Moscato d'Asti producers I found one that year after year wins at Gambero Rosso 3 "glasses" (bicchieri) for its' Casa di Bianca wine. Ready to discover another wine region from Northern Italy? Follow me on my Moscato d'Asti tour to Castagnole delle Lanze.
My morning started way before the Moscato tasting at Gianni Doglia, as I had to arrive to Castagnole delle Lanze comune by bus and then take a 40 min walk up to the hill. Not being sarcastic, really, what can be better than doing a morning hike being surrounded by vineyards drowning in fog? Yes, it was raining, but I had an umbrella :)
As most of the modern winemakers in Piemonte region, Gianni comes from a family that has been producing wine for a few generations. Well, they've been farmers and wine was one of the products they sold. Besides that - fruit trees, hazelnuts and probably cattle.
When Gianni took over the winery in 1995, he, first of all, transformed it to a winery from a farm. His dream was to make the best Moscato d'Asti wine ever, and... he might have achieved it. In order to do it, he divided the production by two - the single-vineyard Moscato cru and the classical Moscato wine. In figures - ten thousand against fifty thousand bottles.
Today the business consists of 12 hectares, 10 ha in Castagnole delle Lanze and 2 ha in Nizza. Besides their signature Moscato wines, they also produce Favorita, Grignolino, Ruche, Barbera and Barbera d'Asti. They're lucky with the soil - it's a mix between Langhe Neive and Monferrato. Therefore, calcareous, sandy, clay soil, with more rocky in Nizza as the elevation raises.
Wines we tasted at Gianni Doglia
So we'll start from white, evolve to light reds (almost rose), get serious with Barbera and just like winemakers in good old days - clean our palates with Moscato d'Asti.
Langhe Favorita - Favorita is a very rare white wine variety that most probably arrived to Piedmont from the neighbouring Liguria. In the past it was a very important white grape, then from 19th to 20th century it was actively used as table grape, and after the II World War it was totally abandoned. It's 'recovery' started in the 70's, as history kept notes of its' potential to produce great wine. So this almost extinct grape thrives on Langhe and Roero hills, it's not very acid, has pale straw colour, very fragrant, floral and fruity, with strong notes of rennet apples.
Grignolino d'Asti - Grignolino is another obscure wine variety, known to be the little cousin of Nebbiolo. It doesn't have so much tannin and structure, it's more like a rose than red. A fruity red for those who don't like 'heavy' red wines. It's also not that high on alcohol (12,5 % abv) and is full of palate-cleansing fruity notes.
The grapes macerate 2-3 days on skins with constant pumping over. Afterwards the fermentation is finished 'in white', so without the skins and pips. Grignolino goes well with fish and seafood, as its' acidity cleans the palate quite well. Rose, violet and strawberry notes will amaze you if you serve the wine after cooling for 30 min in the fridge.