Moscato d’Asti has DOCG status, Italy’s highest wine classification—reserved for the country’s most classic, expressive wines.
Forget what you think you know about Moscato D’Asti, often misidentified as cheap, sweet, bubbly plonk. The Italian semi-sparkling wine called Moscato d’Asti DOCG hails from Piedmont, also home of towering Barolos—many producers of which have long made Moscato d’Asti as well. DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) certifies that the wine comes from a delineated place, is made using a specific method and uses traditional grapes. Moscato d’Asti is made in a style that is fresh, fruity, gently fizzy, sweet and low in alcohol, at around 5% abv. Its signature is its aromatics, courtesy of a compound called linalool which is also found in mint and citrus flowers. They burst from the glass with apricot, peach, tangerine, rose, orange blossom and even lychee. Moscato d’Asti is made from the grape muscat blanc à petits grains –the second most planted variety in Piedmont behind barbera. Muscat blanc à petits grains is just one of hundreds of grape varieties with the word “muscat” in its name even though most of these are genetically distinct. Today, grapes with muscat in their names are made in virtually every style imaginable: dry, sweet, still, sparkling, and fortified. And grown virtually everywhere in the word—from France, Spain, and Austria, to Cyprus, South Africa, and Slovenia to Israel, Oregon, and Greece.