Monday, June 4, 2012


I love Moscato d'Asti, a light sparkling wine--a frizzante--from the hills of Piedmont in northwestern Italy. But I'm amazed to read reports that this humble wine is selling like crazy these days, outpacing all other wine categories. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, as it is quite sweet after all, and sweet sells. Take soda, it is simply "sugared water", according to that famous line from Steve Jobs. I bet if you could make broccoli sweet everyone would eat it--hey, there's an idea!

But to Moscato d'Asti geeks--proud to count myself one--sweet alone wouldn't cut it. Great Moscato d'Asti is like any other great wine, it should be all about flavors and textures that are in harmony. It draws you in with the fragrance of jasmine and white flowers. Its sweetness is vivid such as the intense flavors of lychees, fresh summer peaches, and apple compote. Each sip should be wonderfully refreshing.

Moscato d'Asti is a terrific aperitif-- light and vibrant, it doesn't fill you up right away. At the end of the meal, it spectacularly freshens the palate, almost miraculously restoring your appetite even after eating an eight of a cow or something like that.

Among my favorite Moscato d'Asti is the very modestly priced single-vineyard Tintero Sori Gramella, just $13 for the current release 2011. Another is Elio Perrone's Sourgal ($17 for the 2011). Perrone is widely regarded by experts and connoisseurs as one of the best in the business. Finally, Vittorio Bera et Figli's Moscato d'Asti ($21 for the 2011), from a well-known producer of natural-wines, is utterly alive and irresistible.

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