Sweet with low alcohol. Asti isn’t to everyone’s taste but it can be an excellent glass for those who enjoy wine on the sweeter side.
Asti Spumante is an interesting style of sparkling wine. Unlike most it is sweet and produced only from one grape variety, Moscato Bianco. It is produced from a single fermentation in pressurised tanks to retain the grapes’ natural flavours. It has a perfumed, floral aroma with notable grapey aromas. The wine is low in alcohol because of the high levels of sugar.
Still interested? Delve deeper….
What is Asti?
‘Spumante’ translates as sparkling wine – Asti Spumante DOCG
‘Frizzante’ is a half sparkling style - Moscato d’Asti.
Asti Spumante DOCG is a classified style of wine produced from the Moscato Bianco grape. This white grape variety is aromatic and has an unusual grape-like aroma. It has a pale colour and light body but achieves high levels of sugar. Moscato Bianco is called Muscat blanc á petits grains and is used in a wide range of wine styles from sparkling to fortified.
Asti Spumante DOCG It is the spumante version meaning it is fully sparkling. The Moscato d’Asti D.O.C.G has a gentler fizz. It is often sweeter and therefore lower in alcohol between 4.5-5.5% abv. Moscato d’Asti DOCG is produced in much lower amounts than Asti Spumante DOCG and little is exported outside of Italy.
The region of Asti:
The region of Asti is located in Piedmont, North West Italy. Piedmont is the same region that produces some of the worlds best red wines including Barolo and Barbaresco. Moscato Bianco has a long historical relationship with Asti and has been grown there since the 12th century. Traditionally it was called Moscato Champagne, however this name is no longer allowed!
How is Asti made?
The Asti Spumante method (also called the Dioise method for Clairette de Die in France) is focused solely on the original grapes. All of the flavours and sugars come from the grapes and winemaking flavours are avoided. The wine is fermented in a pressure controlled tank. Once the wine gets to between 5-7% alcohol by volume the fermentation is stopped. This leaves high levels of sugar in the wine and the pressurized tank prevents the carbon dioxide from escaping. The fermented wine then sits at very cold temperatures until it is required. Once the demand is high enough the Asti Spumante is bottled under pressure and sold.
This is not a sparkling wine to age, drink as soon as it is released.
Asti or Asti Spumante is SWEET! The fermentation is stopped before it is finished meaning the final wine has low alcohol, typically between 5-7%abv. This means it is a great wine for people looking for low alcohol options. The sweetness should be balanced with a high level of acid to prevent the wine from becoming flabby and flat.
The taste of Moscato d’Asti
A sweet sparkling wine with fresh fruit flavours from the process in which the wine is made. Key flavours include blossom, peach, nectarine and apple. Flavours of grapes, which is surprisingly uncommon in wine, are almost always present. The final wine should never have any flavours from the winemaking or from ageing. This is a sparkling wine to enjoy young and fresh.
The most famous producer of Asti is Martini but there are many other smaller producers available.