The Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti wine regions hold importance in the world of Italian wine, with both regions carrying a reputation for venerable sparkling and sweet wines. Located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, at the foot of the Alps, but still somewhat close to the coast. As well, the landscape of Langhe Roero Monferrato has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The region’s name is derived from the Asti province, which serves as the heartland of this wine style. Asti Spumante is made primarily from the Moscato Bianco grape varietal, which undergoes secondary fermentation in a pressurized tank, resulting in the creation of delicate bubbles. Known for their light and fruity character, a traditional Asti Spumante flavor profile offers up delightful flavors of peach, apricot, and orange blossom and is usually employed as an aperitif.
On the other hand, the neighboring Moscato d’Asti region specializes in crafting sweeter and gently sparkling wines. Like Asti Spumante, Moscato d’Asti wines are made from the Moscato Bianco grape, but undergo a different production process. These wines are lightly fermented, preserving the natural sugars in the grapes. As a result, they’re lower in alcohol content.
Both Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti wines showcase the terroir of the Piedmont region and its versatility, where a combination of favorable climate, soil composition, and winemaking traditions contribute to overall wine quality. We recently tried two wines from the region. Thoughts follow.
2021 Braida Vigna Senza Nome Moscato d’Asti – Light and consistently frothy, with generous notes of orange blossom, elderflower and yellow peach. A tangerine influence takes over on the body, and the finish provides a complement of light thyme that is quite welcome. I could drink this all day long and would be quite satisfied. Especially in this record-breaking summer heatwave that we are currently experiencing. A- / $22
NV Capetta Asti Dolce DOCG – Big honey and apricot notes arrive up front with a lively array of citrus zest and light floral notes. Everything eventually finds even footing mid-palate, and the dominant honey note releases its grip to present a refreshing and clean finish. Pleasant and straightforward, it’s an ideal bottle to serve with a light dessert or before a meal. B+ / $15