If Champagne is the KIng of Fizz, then I nominate Moscato d’Asti as the Queen of Fizz.
I was fortunate to be invited to a Master Class and Lunch at Del Posto featuring 6 producers of that wonderful wine, Moscato d’Asti. Del Posto is that glamorous Tom Colicchio restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking district.
There are many wines made from Moscato but there is only one Moscato d’Asti and it’s located in the Piedmont area of Italy. Millions of bottles are produced each year in this region which has a wine making history that goes back over 800 years.
Moscato d’Asto is easy to like: it has a distinctive fresh, fruity aroma, it’s low (5.5%) in alcohol and- it has bubbles. The taste lingers for a long time in your mouth and at its best, it has a delectable creaminess.
The DOCG regs (actually under European Union legislation, all member countries need to use DOP instead) require use of the Moscato Bianco clone. In addition wineries use a special pressurized tank for the fermentation which is stopped when the proper balance of alcohol, sugar and acidity is reached. At this point the CO2 gas dissolves and becomes part of the wine.
What was especially helpful was to have the principals of the wineries present their wines. And what
great wines they were:
Nivole Moscato d’Asti 2015 Michele Chiarlo; Moscato d’Asti Saracco 2015; Moncalvina Moscato d’Asti Coppo 2015; Scrapona Moscato d’Asti Marenco 2015; Moscato d’Asti Vignaioli di Santo Stefano-Ceretto 2015; La Caudrina Moscato d’Asti Caudrina 2015
I particularly liked the Scrapona which is a single-vineyard site. It was the creamiest wine at the event with the typical strong hints of citrus, honey, peach, apricot and orange blossom.
The moderator, Gregory Del Plaz, also gave us some insights on terpenes, which I had not known. Terpenes account for the smell factors: linalool brings spicy floral aromas; geraniol brings fruitiness and nerol adds peachy aromas. Taste actually comes from the soil. So add this to my database. Remember: you never stop learning!
The winemakers each brought one of their red wines for us to sample so all in all it was a very worthwhile trip to New York.