Asti Spumante, the worldwide famous sweet sparkling wine
Asti Spumante is the most famous Italian sweet sparkling DOCG wine in the world. It is also the most exported Italian wine. It features unique and outstanding aromas, excellent and balanced fragrance, natural sweetness and low alcohol content.
Where it is produced
Asti Spumante's name comes from the name of the central city of the area where this sparkling wine is produced, which is Asti. Asti is a charming Medieval town located in the north-western part of Italy, not far from Turin, in the Piedmont region which is also famous for other great Italian wines such as the Barolo and Nebbiolo wines, just mentioning a few.
Asti Spumante, this incomparable and unique sweet sparkling wine can only be produced in about 50 municipality areas that belong to the province of Asti, but also to Cuneo and Alessandria. This geographical area of production is called "Zona del Moscato", (Muscat area) and it is located between Bormida and Tanaro rivers. The villages of Canelli, Calosso (provinces of Asti), Strevi (province of Alessandria) and Santo Stefano Belbo (province of Cuneo) are the most productive centers of Asti Spumente DOCG.
History & how it is made
The Asti Spumante DOCG can be produced only from white Muscat grape, the only kind of grape that can give that special, delicate but intense, fragrant and persistent aroma that this sparkling wine boasts. This type of grape is rather ancient, it comes from the eastern Mediterranean area and it was probably brought in Piedmont in the sixteenth century. Then, in 1865, it was Carlo Gancia who first brought the production techniques for sparkling wine in Piedmont and after him, many other wine producers of the area tried to produce sparkling wine from Muscat grape.
In 1932, "Consorzio per la Tutela dell'Asti" was officially born. Since then, its goal has been to protect the Asti appellation, to define the production areas, and promote this brand worldwide. Today, millions and millions of Asti Spumante DOCG bottles are sold every day all over the world, thanks to the extension of the dedicated vineyards in the area of production.
In 1993, Asti Spumante was awarded the label of "DOCG" wine (controlled and guaranteed origin status), therefore, its production must follow some strict guidelines. For instance, the vineyards must be located in hilly areas only, the sparkling must be mostly made in a single tank fermentation, and the sweet flavor must be guaranteed thanks to a special filtration technique.
Qualities & how it looks like
What we have already mentioned above, the White Muscat Grape is a unique grape variety able to confer a very fresh, sweet and intense flavor. Asti Spumante DOCG is a straw-yellow, brilliant sparkling wine with fine but persistent bubbles, sweet and aromatic flavor, and not too rich in alcohol content. It features a persistent, delicate and fruity aroma, which is followed by a fresh, sweet and balanced flavor. When tasted, it reminds of orange, acacia, wisteria, honey, elderflower, and bergamot, leaving a sweet and pleasant aftertaste.
The excellent grape of Muscat, the favorable local climate, the appropriate quality of soil, the harvest and the production techniques make Asti Spumante DOCG a unique sweet sparkling wine! So, no wonder why it is so popular and appreciated all over the world, and why it was declared a human world heritage by UNESCO in 2004!
The best way to taste it
Thanks to its moderate content of alcohol and its sweet and aromatic flavor, this sparkling wine is best served at the end of a meal, accompanying fruit and desserts. Of course, if you want to make a toast during some special parties, Asti Spumante DOCG is undoubtedly the perfect wine for it!
Muscat vineyard near Asti (pic n°1); Asti Spumante DOCG bottles (pic n°2); Muscat grape (pic n°3);