Wines: Asti

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Wines: Asti

A town and subregion of south east Piedmont and also the name of the sparkling white wine it, along with its larger neighbouring provinces; Cuneo and Alessandria, produces. While the region makes a range of light red wines from native varieties including Barbera, Dolcetto and Gignolino to name a few, it is the Moscato Bianco (Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains) grape that is of most commercial importance.

The region produces two differing styles of sparkling, Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante indicates a fully sparkling off dry style, which is now just referred to as Asti. The spumante was dropped out of its name when it was elevated to DOCG status in 1993 in an attempt by producers to differentiate itself from other regions who also included Spumante in the name of their sparkling wine. Moscato d'Asti is Asti's frizzante (semi-sparkling), sweeter and lower alcohol cousin, typically made with the ripest and healthiest grapes.

Unlike Champagne where a second fermentation is carried out in order to make the wine sparkling, Asti and Moscato d'Asti acquires its carbonation during its one and only fermentation in stainless stell tanks. Asti is normally fermented to 7-9.5% abv Asti's and Moscato d'Astis to 5-5.5% abv. Asti's are prized for their pronounced youthful and exotic fruit forward aroma and are therefore generally non vintage, intended for drinking very young.

The wines are normally served chilled in Champagne flutes and while quite high in residual sugar good examples will have enough acidity to make them compatible with a range of sweet and savoury dishes.