The picture above is of bubbles. I am thinking of bubbles that have low alcohol such as Moscato d’Asti and Asti Spumante. This Santo Stefano (December 26) I am writing about Asti which I had at my table today in our post Christmas celebration. Much like Panettone, Asti and Moscato are part of my holiday sparkling wine traditions. Its also great to drink lower alcohol wines today.
A lot has been written of late of this trend towards wines with lower levels of alcohol, I don’t often look at the alcohol level of the wines I buy but I do notice for example the weight of the bottle or the color of the glass or the amount of oak on a wine as signs that maybe the alcohol is high. Sometimes those items have nothing to do with alcohol but often they do.
When I first started drinking Italian wines, most were coming it at 12% ABV or 12.5% ABV. Then it crept up in the 2000s until 13% ABV and 14% ABV were the norm. I know some California wines come in at 15% or even 16% ABV but I wonder will that change post pandemic. I am curious to hear what other people think.
Moscato has been a drink of choice for some years among novice consumers, young folks, and the Kosher crowd – think Bartenura, the blue bottle you have likely seen numerous times.
I personally think Moscato is quite underrated, delicate and floral, it can work so well with different foods and at different moments in the meal. I worked a bit with Asti DOCG this year and got to taste a lot of it first hand and also to see consumer reactions to drinking it.
Often people move away from a wine that they think is sweet but not all Asti or Moscato d’Asti is over the top with sweetness and more importantly much Italian sparkling wine is traditionally made in the off-dry style.which has it’s own levels of sweetness more in line with what you see in Asti and Moscato d’Asti. In my experience people say they want to drink dry wines but that is not always the case.
Asti DOCG and Moscato d’Asti DOC are two historic denominations from Piedmont that merit attention. The Consorzio has been quite active this year and it is the 90th anniversary of the denomination, no small deal.
I have been making wine at home for about 16 years. I don’t make it every year but the best wine I ever made was Moscato. I bought the grapes which came in from Lodi, California and the wine was ready to drink the spring after harvest. It was the first step in my looking at Moscato in a different way.
I hope 2023 introduces you to or brings you back to this historic sparkling wine region. Give it another try and pair it with something new, you might be surprised