|Decree of institution||14/11/1977|
|Gazzetta Ufficiale||20/01/1978 nr. 20|
|Maximum grape yield||75,0%|
|Alcohol by volume of grape (natural)||5,5%|
|Alcohol by volume of wine (minimum)||11,0%|
|Net dry extract (minimum)||15,0‰|
|Ingredient grapes||Moscato Bianco: 100.0%|
Moscato d'Asti is a "Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita" sparkling white wine produced mainly in the province of Asti, north-west Italy, and in smaller nearby regions in the provinces of Alessandria and Cuneo. The wine is sweet and low in alcohol, and often enjoyed with dessert. Thus it is considered a dessert wine. It is from the Moscato bianco grape. A related wine, Asti, is produced in the same area from the same grape.
Grown in the hilltop town of Asti in Montferrat, Piedmont, Italy, Moscato d’Asti is made by small producers in small batches. Moscato is named such because of its earthy musk aroma. The ancient Romans called it the apiana. In the Medieval ages, its diffusion was great and the first certain documents that attest to its presence in Piedmont date as far back as the 14th century.
Piedmont winemakers traditionally make this low alcohol wine with Muscat à Petits Grains, also known as Moscato bianco. This petite berry varietal ripens early and produces a wide range of wine styles: light and dry, slightly sweet and sparkling or a rich, honey-like dessert wine.
Cultivated for hundreds of years in the Piedmont DOCG in Italy, Moscato bianco is considered one of the oldest grapes grown in that area. Although Moscato has been cultivated and made in the area, modern production of Moscato d’Asti as it is known now began in the 1870s. Made in the frizzante style, Moscato d’asti was the wine that winemakers made for themselves. This low-alcohol wine could be drunk at noontime meals and would not slow down the winemaker or his workers. After the workday was done, the Piemontese tradition of long, multicourse evening meals gave Moscato d’asti the purpose of a digestif that cleansed the palate and stimulated the palate for dessert.
The cooler region in which Moscato bianco is grown and produced has the perfect blend of limestone and sandstone soils that give the provide hydration and flavors to the grapes. The grapes are harvested when the brix is optimal and then crushed. The must is chilled almost to the point of freezing to keep the fermentation process at a halt until the time is right. By law, Moscato D’Asti can only be 5.5% abv so the fermentation process is halted with a lot of the natural sugars still left in the wine. Unlike Champagne, there is no secondary fermentation allowed in the bottle. Right before bottling, the Moscato d’Asti goes through a filtration process that leaves the wine with a translucent golden color.
In popular culture
Since 2011, Moscato d’Asti sales have risen 73% and still rises around 10-15% per year in the US by consumers under the age of 45. Such rise has been attributed to the affordability of the wine (most range from $10–20) and the adoption of Moscato d’Asti as the drink of choice by hip-hop culture since champagne’s fall from grace.
Since Frederic Rouzaud, the managing director of champagne house Louis Roederer’s, fatal mistake of stating “we can't forbid people from buying it” when he was asked if he thought hip-hop’s “bling culture” hurt the Cristal brand, champagne’s popularity as the drink of choice for hip-hop plummeted. Jay-Z began a boycott against the brand and the Moscato d’Asti craze took over.
- MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing. p. 335. ISBN 978-1-56305-434-1.
- Wine Pass Italy
- Marcis, Richard. "Italy's Fizzy and Fun Gift to the World". Wine Words Wisdom. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Haynes-Peterson, Robert. "Moscato Mosaic: Moscato Sales Have Skyrocketed, Thanks to a Whole New Group of Wine Fans". Beverage Media Group. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- O'Donnell, Ben. "Moscato Mania". Wine Spectator. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- Jay Z Bought A Luxury Champagne Brand Just To Spite Cristal Aly Weisman. Business Insider. Nov. 7, 2014. December 25, 2014
- Sanders, Sam H. "Moscato Finds a Younger, Hipper-and Browner-Audience". npr.org. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- Hams, Michael Ice-Blue. "Drake & Roscoe Dash Help Moscato Take the Hip Hop World by Storm". HipHopWired. Retrieved 23 February 2014.