In the majority this is an industrially produced wine of a standard brand-specific character, dominated by a small number of NMs. Fully sparkling with the usual aroma and flavour profile of moscato bianco aka muscat blanc a petit grains.
A DOCG in north-west Italy, in the Region of Piemonte, in the Province of Asti.
Altitude 160-550m, with some very steep slopes.
Continental, but hilly, so relatively cool in the growing season.
Calcareous, or marl (calcareous clay).
Until 1994 known as Asti Spumante, when the spumante was abandoned. Asti retained the poor, or perhaps inconsistent quality reputation of Asti Spumante before, but now there is a Consorzio that has taken control and regulates all producers, and quality is improving as a result.
The complex topography lends itself to many small producers supplying negociants, who make and market the wine. As a result the product is homogenous, rather than expressing any terroir effects.
Current production about 100m bottles.
About 20 negociants control 80% of production.
Major producers – Martini & Rossi (30m botts), Campari (25m botts) and Fratelli Martini (15m botts).
There is some estate level metodo classico production.
Across 50 communes, with about 40k growers farming 40kha.
Moscato bianco, a white variety, aka muscat blanc a petit grains; produced as a varietal wine.
Max yield 75hl/ha.
The freshly pressed sweet must is stored in stainless steel tanks at 0C, so that fresh wine can be made on demand throughout the year.
The wine is made using the Asti Method, a variation on the tank method, in that a still dry base wine is not used. Rather, the juice is fermented to between 7-9.9% abv, then chilled to arrest fermentation, membrane filtered to remove remaining yeasts, and bottled.
This gives a stable, sweet, sparkling wine, with a pressure of 3.5-4 atm. No MLF, to preserve acidity.
Mushroom cork closure.
Best consumed as young as possible, certainly within 2 years, as geraniol, an important flavour compound when fresh, but becomes unpleasant with age.
Most are not vintage dated.
A varietal, low alcohol, sweet (9% potential alcohol) and fruity, full sparkling wine.
Pale lemon-green, small bubbles and tears. pronounced intensity, youthful, with aromas of peach, apricot, ripe pear, sweet ripe grapes, citrus blossom and a hint of pear drop. A sweet wine with medium acidity, low alcohol, a medium (+) body; a pronounced intensity with flavours of peach, apricot, ripe mango and very ripe grape. A creamy mousse, with a medium persistence and a long length.
Belfrage, N. (2004). Barolo to Valpolicella, MitchellBeazley.