We are all Asti

    Moscato vineyard, Castiglione Tinella

We search the world’s most famous regions for the most profound and moving wines but are caught up by a mix of pedigree and marketing, so often not truly making the connections. We are bought and sold, invested in the attractive and oft times the austere. Beauty is everywhere and sometimes right under our noses, yet are we not blinded or at the very least distracted by confidence and power? These thoughts can be applied to many things but as it pertains to wine there is a clear message. Open your heart, mind and palate to seek what others pass over, to experience what is real. And so en route to Alba for Nebbiolo Prima I first made way to the land of moscato. There and for the third time in four years I visited with seven prominent producers to further an education and understanding about a most important wine. Moscato d’Asti. Why? Simply because we are all Asti.

Moscato, Castiglione Tinella

Related – Asti DOCG 2022 – Special Report

In October of 2022 I hosted three events in Toronto to pour, speak about and celebrate the precocious joy of Moscato d’Asti. A sommelier lunch and consumer event, both held at Barque Smokehouse shared 18 examples of the lightly sparkling, low alcohol, impeccably balanced, multi-styled, food-friendly and Piedmontese heritage wines. More than 100 professionals and wine lovers chose to experience the wonders of these refreshing wines. Why? Once again the answer is the same. We are all Asti.

Monferrato Hills, Piemonte

I visited the region in December of 2018 and also 2019, then returned again this past January, to reconnect with the land and the people who share an imperative to keep heritage alive, but today growers and producers do so much more than merely follow tradition. New vinification and filtration techniques not only create the cleanest Moscato d’Asti ever made but also equip the wines with better aging potential than before. Moscato d’Asti does age well, in fact I tasted several examples of three to four year-old wines mired in a dumb phase but also seven to 10 year old wines that having now re-emerged, were drinking with giddy delight.

Filtration system, Matteo Sorìa

These moscato producers are 100 per cent all in. Many may make other wines but when it comes to Moscato d’Asti there are no distractions from any other grapes; not barbera, dolcetto, nebbiolo, chardonnay, etc. Some are experimenting with dry iterations while others are practicing long lees aging to craft complex moscato as traditional method sparkling wine. The permutations are endless and while promise is everywhere there is no deviation from the original. Every producer makes one because they could not imagine abandoning their heritage.

Ristorante Curia, Acqui Terme

With moscato one needs to avoid bacteria and fermentative aromas at all costs. Allows the machinery and modern technology to purify, cleanse and determine the purity of these wines though they are all made from hand-picked grapes. They are the cleanest wines in the territory but also expressive of their place, from Canelli to Castiglione Tinella to Strevi. In some cases each year a percentage of the last year’s must is integrated into the current vintage and so in the case of Matteo Soria, each time there is 15 per cent from two years previous, and three, and so on. It’s like a Solera in effect with a decreasing percentage of a previous vintage within the whole of current must amounts.

Carciofi Fritti at Ristorante Curia, Acqui Terme

The following are tasting notes on 18 Moscato d’Asti tasted in Piemonte back in January, 2023. The producers did of course share other wines and so those 28 reviews are included at the bottom of this report. A huge thank you to the Consorzio dell’Asti, to Direttore Giacomo Pondini, Martina Bukavec and my chaperone Paola Baldi. Ci vediamo.

Azienda Agricola Ghiga Enrico Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2022

Davide Ghiga finished oenology school in Alba 2014, his brother in 2009. They are really the only young winemakers making a go of it in Castiglione, the first generation to make wines here, since 2012. Their uncle’s grapes were sold off to cooperatives before then and while barbera, dolcetto and nebbiolo have gained importance, the true heritage is still moscato. Freshness and high aromatic intensity are on full open display, as it must be with a varietal wine that bleeds this place, that being Castiglione Tinella. There are several exposures available, starting with the northern grapes and moving around the exposure wheel, east and west picked next and south the last, where sugars are high and acidity low. Pressed, three musts chosen from, kept at 0-1 degrees celsius, unfermented at this time. Blended, filtered, natural yeasts eliminated, back to zero degree holding tanks. Now in late October early November the vinification starts, selected yeasts are used, for 10-12 days, honing in on and fixing the aromatics and CO2. Done at 14-15 degrees with pressure at one bar. Followed by filtering again and tartaric stabilization at negative four or five degrees. Ready to bottle. Sugar at 120 g\L, acidity between 5.5 and 6, alcohol at five per cent. Tough work but someone has to do it. Spot on moscato in low alcohol, light fizz style with stone fruit and citrus aromatics on full display and in utmost control. Labour of love sets up true Ghiga success. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Moscato d’Asti DOCG Le Casette di Alice 2022

A truly airy, frothy and easy moscato and yet the tannins of 2022 are there, as always across the board in this vintage. High acidity matches to the 120 g\L of sugar and 5.5 per cent alcohol. So much pear, soft and broken down by citrus with fresh white flowers. This is the straightforward and getable Md’A in all respects. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Moscato d’Asti DOCG Paiè 2020

The cooperative of Alice bel Colle comprises 350 hectares spilt between 200 moscato, 100 brachetto, 50 barbera plus small amounts of dolcetto and chardonnay. There are approx. 100 members and more than 2,000,000 annual bottles are produced. “Our idea is not to grow too much, otherwise we will lose quality” says President Claudio Negrino who oversees the Cantina along with Vice President Bruno Roffredo. Moscato d’Asti as Paiè is a contra style to the normale, a bit of age added on and yet shy of the dumb phase that is sure to follow. There is more concentration and density on the nose with fresh herbs, sage mainly and even white balsamic. Paiè is a small valley with a warmer micro-climate and the potential for over ripeness. This brings more sugar (140 g\L of RS here), body and stage presence. Stylistically this will attract a different consumer who wants to think about things a bit and also appreciates a bigger wine that matches to more specific cuisine. The suggestion here is of course dessert but also spicy coconut curries. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Asti DOCG Dolce Metodo Classico

Disgorged in 2015, seven-plus years on the lees and unmistakably white balsamic in aroma. The flowers and orange skin are now candied, the fennel slowly braised with Vidalia to bring out the sweetness. One of the most curious examples of using the moscato grape variety for a style of wine never really having been afforded the opportunity to try. Now a toasty expression fuelled by linalool that has turned to smouldering paraffin and camphor oil. Fine bitters though the sweetness still triumphs in the end. Nothing like this at all, a wine of experience and to experience, wholly unique. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2022

Walter Bera started the company in the 1970s with moscato grapes and it has always been a very important wine. His son Riccardo Bera tells that “this is pretty much the history of the winery when only a few guys were making moscato.” This is about the 1970s, along with Roman Dogliotti and others making this style of wine without the help of current technologies to keep the wines clean and safe from spoilage. Here in 2022 the wine is fresh off the charts and announcing its charm without equivocation. Approximately 130 g/L of RS, 6 of tA and five per cent alcohol. Again from 2022 tannin is involved, calling card of the vintage, not common but not impossible. Age some. They will drink well after four years and up to at least 10. Approximately 70,000 bottles made, half of what is made at Bera. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Moscato d’Asti DOCG Su Reimond 2022

Not a cru but a lieu-dit and literally below “Reimond’s house.” More concentration, doubling down on dry extract and also tannin because this is 2022. Aromatics are also intensified and yet so are the sugars but also the herbals in a soapy cilantro way. More idiosyncratic behaviour and specialized style. Not better than the classica, just different. Great curiosity and potential in any case. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo 1892 Moscato d’Asti DOCG Moncalvina “Canelli” 2022

The name Canelli is the key because going forward it may be the only name on the label. In a short time “Moscato d’Asti” could very likely be stricken from the front of the bottle. A wine of heritage and the hardest to produce, here at 2.5 bars of pressure and topped with specially designed Diam corks. The naturally occurring sugar is 245 g/L with upwards of 6 g/L of TA and 5 percent alcohol. Perfectly balanced, true, precise and honest moscato. Or shall we say, “Canelli.” Drink for a year, pause for the next three and then for five to six more after that. Drink 2023-2029.  Tasted January 2023

L’Armangia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Canelli 2017

Behold the moscato art meets science of Ignazio Giovine. Aromatics that temporarily disappeared into the Moscato d’Asti black hole are just now beginning to reemerge. The primary linalool beauty of years one and two went away and hid in the next 24-30 months but here they are again, albeit with new found interest and the beginnings of what naturally sweet moscato design is magically renowned to do. Now the peaches, apricots and nectarines, all them stone fruits and lemon segments are gelled, candied and crystallized. Renewed interest is the spark and imagination takes over, wonderment towards what might happen next. Will it be lemongrass tea, diesel emissions, petrol trails, strong scented terpenoids or cyclic ketones? Guesses are premium and another two years should answer the questions with real answers. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted January 2023

L’Armangia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Canelli 2015

Ignazio Giovine’s 2015 has entered the zone where all great aged moscato from Canelli lands are want to go, that is to say their aromatics have re-emerged, been re-invented and replace or rather re-imagine what they were to begin with. The lemon factor runs high from this vintage, more verbena herbal than grassy and the green plant matter is exotic evergreen, oily and strong-scented, to touch and nose. Lots of petrol fuelling and vapour trailing in this ’15 and in many ways the secondary aromas are just the beginning. Still the best years are now up towards the nearing horizon. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted January 2023

L’Armangia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Canelli 1998

Perhaps not the finest 1998 bottle version of what was surely a stellar vintage for Canelli moscato with full on oxidative notes, caramelization and all the lemon tisane that can be imagined on a naturally sweetened fizzy Asti white wine. Noting the excellence of the acidity and the gingered-apple-lemon crème brûlée tells much about what a perfectly sound bottle would offer. If ever the chance might arise again but alas not because Ignazio Giovine says this is it. Ah well, a great showing nonetheless. Drink 2023.  Tasted January 2023

L’Armangia Mesicaseu Vino Da Uve Stramature Bianco (375ml)

Aromatic perfume is a floral wave far exceeding that of Moscato d’Asti to little surprise considering the later harvest and serious fruit concentration. Lemon and rose hip tea, mandarin orange, cranberry and dried fruit, namely persimmon and apricot. Tannins, boozy flavours, more lemon and spices, spicy if crisp bite, herbals running like Amaro through veins. Tar and roses. Major curio dessert wine this one. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Scrapona 2022

Andrea Costa sets the table. “Strevi is always different from the rest of the Moscato d’Asti areas. You can really see the difference.” Leaner aromatics while conversely bolder in mouthfeel and fatter of structure. Limestone soil makes for fine acidity that is characteristic of this southern area, closer to the Appenines. The palate is full, wide and of a breadth impressive indeed that acts as a great distraction from the level of sweetness. And then comes that 2022 tannin, because of Strevi more forceful than most. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Scrapona 2017

Now going back five years and the winemaking no different then, just as it is still today. Though some 2017s are not yet showing a return to aging and development this from Strevi is just beginning its next level evolution and the fascination is upon us. Evergreen and petrol in cohorts, dried lemongrass and some sort of sweet and sour solvent. Grassy and chamomile plus the aromatic skin of “cedro,” aka fine strips of cedar bark. Great mouthfeel and persistence from what may be a vintage that will age quicker than some but for the next three-plus years it will do what we hope from aging moscato. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Scrapona 2012

Now we are really getting somewhere with an older moscato that is not only holding well but just a few minutes in the glass and everything begins to change. This bottle is in great shape, the hue of moscato brilliant golden yellow and the aromatics shining just like the wine’s hue. Sweet straw and lemon curd, like aged Icewine from riesling and the vintage just must have provided great balance. Acidity remains perfectly in tact and the tact of this wine is it’s seamlessness, unwavering, still holding a perfect line. Bravo. Buonissimo. Life yet to live. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Matteo Sorìa Asti Brut DOCG NV Bric Prima Bella Sparkling Wine

Actually Extra Brut because there is only 1 g/L of residual sugar and in fact Matteo Sorìa is the only one making Asti Sparkling as bone dry. Maintains the aromatic profile of moscato from here in Castiglione Tinella but the profile is wholly, utterly and distinctly unique. A balanced Asti with slightly higher alcohol at 12 per cent though this is in reality 12.7 and yes, dry as the desert. Fennel seed, rosemary and yet never tart at all. Sees six to eight months on the lees with higher acidity at 6.3 g/L and this is what Sorìa is looking for. First disgorgement of this style and it has my attention. The only change going forward will be to keep extending the lees aging, albeit slowly, slowly. A reminder that it’s a tank method sparkling wine. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Matteo Sorìa Cascinetta Asti DOCG Cascinetta NV

The area was called Cascinetta and also the name of one of Matteo Sorìa’s brands. This is the sweeter sparkler at 140 g\L with 7 g\L of total acidity and 7.0 percent alcohol. Also non-vintage so therefore a mix of at least (but up to 15 per cent) two or three older vintages. All for the purpose of consistency in style and a consumers’ taste. Sugar is quite hidden, flavours are very stone fruit and acidity rules the day. Looong finish, so clean and quite precise for this style of fizzy wine. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Matteo Sorià

Matteo Sorìa Cascinetta Moscato d’Asti DOP

Bottled last week so yes this is about the freshest moscato you will ever find. Intensity of florals and aromatics off the charts and also here lower sulphites than most, with thanks to the newest of filtering technology used in the winery. Passes though 1.0, 0.65 and 0.45 micron filters and finishes with just 150 g\L of sulphites. The flowers and the stone fruit on the nose are matched by the white chalky-clay soil that determine what kind of moscato comes from Matteo Sorìa. Perfectly executed sweeter style. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Matteo Soria Moscato d’Asti DOCG Soria 2012

Ten years old and bottled February 2013. A warm vintage with a great deal of rain and wow has this wine stood the test of time. The bubbles are preserved, it feels drier and the appearance is of a wine only a year or two old. Drier because the acidity is high and after 10 years that acidity hasn’t changed. Probably 120 g\L of sugar and the aromas are so beautifully preserved as well, though they have certainly morphed with some crème frâiche now, but also lemongrass, Vietnamese herbs and the beginning of petrol. Yet to express any solvents or waxiness. That may be coming, not soon but down the road. Incredible freshness. Magic. For now and it remains to be seen what can be gained from 10 more years of aging. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Cuvée Tresessanta Blanc De Blancs Pas Dosé 2018, Alta Langa DOCG

The alcohol is a bit high (at 13.5 per cent) due to “a bureaucratic problem,” explains President President Claudio Negrino, having obtained the appellative status a bit tardy and so the harvest was delayed, otherwise it would not have been called Alta Langa DOCG. Makes for more gastronomy in a few ways, even it it’s not perfectly suitable to be drunk own its own. All moscato, aged 36 months on the lees in the richest of possible moscato employed ways, like candied ginger, salty kewpie mayo and seasoned sushi rice in a bottle. Carries a metallic note as well, like viognier, but the acidity is really good. Also a golden hue and beneficial bitters. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Moscato Secco 360 degrees Collezione Filarej, DOC Piemonte

The label depicts a description, of standing at the top of the unnamed hill though it may be affectionately called “Belvedere,” a beautiful panoramic view, 360 degrees, overlooking the village itself. Here a dry moscato that has been made at Alice bel Colle for more than 10 years, well before the DOC was created. Still perfumed with more linalool than a dry example would usually emit and the sugar here is 3-4 g\L, essentially insignificant as it pertains to this grape. Once again there is as much a viognier feeling gained as there is moscato and that is fully attributed to a strong aromatic profile predicated on phenolics which masks the alcohol (at 14 per cent). Clearly a wine that benefitted from expert temperature control during fermentation to capture perfumes and avoid bitterness. A style of wine on the rise, modern and contemporary. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Acqui Secco DOCG Monte Ridolfi Lupus Glorioso 2020

A dry version of brachetto and so an agreement they would be called simply “Acqui,” as opposed to “Brachetto d’Acqui,” which is the sweet version. Not a rule but a marketing choice made by the members of the Consorzio. Avoids consumer misconception. Again the aromatics are captured despite the dry factor and like the moscato concept there is a modernity and a sense of innovation involved. Red fruit with all the right moves, black cherry and just that fine little bit of bitterness from the stone. Fineness of tannin and long on the finish with good natural sweetness and impressive balance. Simple and not complex but quite satisfying. All stainless and some concrete tanks for a good level of freshness though interesting in that there is no real salumi or meaty skin muskiness. Really clean and focused. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Dolcetto d’Acqui DOC 360 Degrees Collezione Coste Di Muiran 2021

Not a wine of a single vineyard dolcetto but from a specific area out of which grapes are chosen. Bit of a funny barnyard aroma mixed with very ripe strawberry with some musky fruit skin leatheriness. Much lighter than Dogliani versions and yet also fruitier than those from the Monferrato Hills further west from Alice bel Colle. Smells like pizza dough in action, still a bit raw yet getting somewhere. Also mulberry bush, Ribena and yet good acidity keeping the grip and also balance in play. Solid and characterful, yet another wine of gastronomy. Fine bitterness upon the chewy finish. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

With Claudio Negrini, President – Cantina Alice bel Colle

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Barbera d’Asti DOCG 360 Degrees Collezione Al Casò 2021

Al Casò faces south-southeast heading from Alice bel Colle towards Nizza, very close, on the right, of vineyards somewhere between young and old, right in the sweet spot. Lions of cherry here, a variegation of ripenesses, in reds and green but mostly concentration. Selected from many small parcels, 95 per cent collected by hand. Fermentations are kept separate and blended after. Expressive of barbera’s acidity but also stringent behaviour, kept in check though surely present in this wine. There is a real presence and persistence and so the wine improves with time spent getting to know its grippy charms. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Alix 2019

The flagship red for the cooperative Cantina Alice be Colle and almost counterintuitive because there is immediate brightness and effusive behaviour straight away. Alix was the ancient name of the village and there were at the time two roads running up and down the hill that formed an “X.” As in going to the X, to the village, now called Alice bel Colle. Now up to 15 per cent alcohol though it wears it well and the aromatics are surprisingly open-knit. Intensely or more so the kind of tart that is truly implosive, reflexive and recoiling. Wood is all about spice and structure, not overwhelming though unavoidably in charge. Ample purity which bequeathes originality and in the end a thank you to the calcareous-quartz soils. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG Le Casette Di Alice NV

The cousin of Moscato Casette, like-minded in sweetness and purpose though brachetto’s key ingredient is more particular, from strawberry to rose, depending on the vintage. An herbal vintage which doesn’t necessarily choose one over the other but brings in the leaves of both. Acidity is maintained and freshness guaranteed. This is quite open and lively with a scrape of orange zest that brightens the finish. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Brut Alta Langa DOCG And DOP 2016

Disgorged in late November from a wine that has been made the same way since the 1980s, 70 per cent chardonnay and (30). Walter Bera’s father Sisto had been growing pinot noir and chardonnay going back even further so he was one of the pioneers, like Carlo Gancia. The ’16 spent 48 months on the lees and this is the last bottle of this disgorgement. Grown on white chalk in the Langhe so yes there is some lightning in here with just 4 g/L of dosage, vintage related but that’s the median point overall. So much flavour, with mid-palate and structure, yet round and so getable. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2021

“Dolcetto has been in our roots for a very long time, on a very historical piece of our land,” tells Riccardo Bera, from a Neive vineyard, once planted as the king of the Langhe as the most important grape. It fetched more money than nebbiolo. It was currency. Today it’s the easiest wine, low in structure and acidity, but also austerity and it’s the perfect match for local food. This ’21 smells so primary, as if it were from the tank and yet it’s more than a year old. Incredibly fresh, bursting with red fruit of every ilk, flesh and size. Supremely aromatic and Riccardo’s brother Umberto is the new gen oenologist keeping the old traditions alive. A week on skins, stainless steel only, some tannin that is Neive but not nebbiolo austerity at all. Perfect mid-weight dolcetto. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOCG La Lena 2019

Lena was the name of Riccardo Bera’s great-grandmother, as in Sisto’s mother. Aged in 25 hL casks, the fruit coming from Neive, same area as the dolcetto. Actually Gaia Principe, halfway between the villages of Neive and Barbaresco. Just fresh enough to stay happy and healthy even while temperatures rise and fruit concentrates exponentially. The structure here separates this from other barbera while the wood never dominates. Well thought out, considered, never hastily conceptualized or actualized but made well to deliver persistence and more than ample amenability. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2023

With Riccardo Bera

Bera Barbaresco DOCG Serraboella 2019

The western cru close to Neive village, exposition to the west, from the lower section at 350m. Planted 15 years ago with the intention to make classic “Villages” Barbaresco but the fruit from 2016 changed the family’s perspective. That vintage was the first cru label and here from the fourth consecutive the refinement time is 24 months in grandi botti, part Slovenian and part Austrian oak. Tannic to be sure yet not quite what you’d call austere. Greatly structured wine and still far from readiness. “That’s the young baby we’re talking about,” says Riccardo. “It’s the cru that surprises me.” Great aromatic presence and fine chalky liquidity running through. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Rabajà 2015

Rabajà faces southwest and this fruit comes right from the heart, only bottled as Riserva. Vines in and around 40 years of age and three years spent in Grandi Botti. Aromatically you intuit glycerin and as a Barbaresco there is clearly more acumen and experience from plants that first gave this wine life out of the 2011 vintage. Tannins are even more compact than Seraboella, trying to expand but they just keep weighing down and won’t fully relent. Layering of red fruit and they are beautiful layers but each one carries tannin of ilk upon ilk. This is Barbaresco of sapidity as a quotient of acids and pH working in cohorts. The palate attack is quite fantastical. Give this another year. Drink 2024-2033.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Basarin 2012

Basarin is home to much older vines, upwards of 65 years-old and is one of the steepest vineyards in Barbaresco. A snake of a vineyard and very challenging to work. South exposure, warm for sure and a soil composition higher in chalk than clay but not too dissimilar to Rabajà. Herbaceous notes come from Basarin and “when I was young, every time I went to the tank I had this feeling,” tells Riccardo Bera. The first vintage out of which the tannins are nearly resolved and yet the fruit persists in near whole and perfect freshness. A nebbiolo in wonderful condition and while the vintage was hot there might have been a different result. This is almost, not quite but nearly ready, as far as optimum or perfect windows are concerned. Liquorice here, a touch of tar and well, “most of this job for us is to start with the best grapes you can. The quality is in the vineyard. A good winemaker can keep the 10. A five you cannot fix.” Ten it is. Drink 2023-2032.  Tasted January 2023

Bera Barolo DOCG Mosconi 2017

From this vintage the fruit is not 100 per cent Bera and just shortly thereafter the Bera family purchased a portion of the famous Monforte cru. This is the first and only trial vintage before the purchase but the focus was on acquiring a piece. Straight away the dry and brushy vintage while some red fruit freshness persists. Some austerity yet starting, to advance, mature and soften. The reconciliation and full recovery may be a year or two away but this nebbiolo is showing the signs. Quality precursor to what is coming form the new plantation and Bera’s full control of their own Mosconi Barolo destiny. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo 1892 Brut Rosé Clelia Coppo Metodo Classico Vino Spumante Di Qualità 2019

Assemblage of chardonnay with only five per cent pinot noir in a cuvée named for Luigi Coppo’s grandmother. Just five per cent but red fruit really defines this traditional method sparkling wine. Red currants and a hint of strawberry, sweetly leafy and mildly tart. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo 1892 Piero Coppo Riserva Del Fondatore 2013, Alta Langa Riserva DOCG

The 2013 vintage is the turning point to this 60 percent pinot noir and (40) chardonnay becoming and being labeled Alta Langa, recently disgorged in 2022. Previous disgorgements were labelled Vino Spumante di Qualità. Now into wildly vivid and famous complexity, toasty yes but there’s a crème frâiche and an almost strawberries and cream component. Eonologists GianMario Cerrutti, Guiliermo Grasso and Vittorio Pescarmona conspired to see this age 85 to 90 months on the lees, almost unprecedented around Asti. Has hit its stride, in the right place between crunchy and the kind of sparkling wine that you begin to ruminate with in the mouth. Cerebral wine in every respect. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo 1892 Monteriolo 2020, DOC Piemonte

Mainly stainless steel with 10 per cent barriques. Reductive and yet wildly exotic, so much so the protective shell can’t seem to hold back the aromatics. Of minerals and elements, tropical fruit and wet stone. Turns flinty or rather encourages this note, followed by lit paraffin and finally a hit of lemon pith plus fine bitters. Everything in moderation, subtlety and restraint. The dream of generations continues. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo 1892 Monteriolo 2015, DOC Piemonte

Chardonnay at seven years is extraordinary, from the limestone and clay of Castelnuovo Calcea with all the hints of the early days now emerging into the secondary machinations so wished for in Nizza-Monferatto area chardonnay. Of solvents and camphor, paraffin and flintiness stretched elastic for miles and miles. Structured wine of sapidity which is once again the correct and beautiful way for chardonnay to complete its raison d’être. That and freshness so persistent. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo 1892 Chardonnay Monteriolo Riserva Della Famiglia 2017, DOC Piemonte

A warm and dry vintage for concentration to be guaranteed but looking forward to 2022 the lack of winter snow and spring/summer rain will make for a much more difficult proposition. This is not only beautiful as an aged chardonnay but also impressive in its Riserva style concentration. Takes the waxiness, phenolic meets solvent tonic and citrus to an entirely next level. Chardonnay and 2017 make for an ideal and lasting marriage in Nizza Monferrato. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOCG Pomorosso 2019

A Barbera d’Asti from the highest level from Nizza where the soils are key, of fine and friable clay with sparkling mineral content above a layer of nearly pure though porous limestone to raise barbera no other Asti area is able to procure. Castelnuovo Calcea and Vinchio bring the grip and stage presence, mainly from old vineyards. The Pomorosso is a cuvée and while structurally speaking this is a very serious wine, there is a portion from near Agliano Terme that brings a roundness and ultimately balance. The components of acidity and tannin are strongest but they do not dominate as might be expected. There is a juiciness and fine if sharp red fruit presence part plum and part red berry plume. Pomegranate shares the spotlight and this is a very generous vintage. Surprisingly accessible. Agreeable and yet age worthy to. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Coppo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG Riserva Di Famiglia 2015

Notably evolved yet right in that secondary zone where things have become really interesting. Pine forest, limestone and espresso, a veritable caffè of barbera with juicy black cherries and finishing dark chocolate. A vintage where the wood is really felt and these are the final days of excellence. Thank goodness for top barbera acidity. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

With Davide Ghiga

Azienda Agricola Ghiga Enrico Dolcetto 2021, Monferrato DOC

The first of the Ghiga red grapes to be harvested and here from Monferrato the alcohol is still coming in at 13 per cent. Meat scented, a salumi skin but mostly freshness because this zone is still one of the lucky ones. Fruit is fleshy but again the skins are so much a part of determining style; musky plum and minerals cut by an almost raspberry tang. Lovely but complex dolcetto. Liking the length here. Production is approximately 2,000 bottles per year. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted January 2023

Azienda Agricola Ghiga Enrico Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2021

Barbera from a very particular terroir that manages freshness really well because the soils of Costigiole and the winds that come in from the mountains create temperature wings and a maintenance of cooling acidity. A world away from barbera raised in Alba, here at 13.5 percent alcohol and no wood involved in the aging process. Fruit at the centre with great Scott acidity in the range of six to 6.5 g\L. Drinks in many ways like the dolcetto but there is more depth and even some tarry character involved. The vines are 40-50 years of age and it is both concentration and intensity that are provided. Also herbal, like Amaro and in the end a balanced effort. This is the wine for Bollito Misto. Truly. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Azienda Agricola Ghiga Enrico Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Dodici Lune 2019

In Superiore barbera gets special wood treatment, now and since 2016 with two foudres, two barriques and one tonneaux sitting like little Buddhas in a small aging room dedicated to this wine. The rest in those vessels is for one year and another in bottle. The wines are racked in tank to make the blend, usually in June or July. Fruit from the zone (località) of San Michele in Costigiole d’Asti, as always and one of the coolest barbera zones pretty much anywhere in Piemonte. Superiore is a 20-25 per cent selection of the best barbera grapes and the quality in terms of concentration but also purity is evident in this fine vintage of this fine wine. Acidity always high, especially from this place and “this is our style right now,” tells Davide Ghiga. Around 2,000-2,300 bottles annually. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Rosato Acqui DOCG Ma Ré 2021

Ma Ré as in Marenco and also “Ro-Sé.” An experimental Rosé (third try) labeled Acqui which under the new understanding puts it on the drier side and spends a maximum of 48 hours on the skins. This puts it in similar vinification methodology to the sweeter Brachetto d’Acqui. That said fermentative temperatures don’t need to be cold because immediate gratification is the point of the exercise. Dry and salty, 2-3 g\L of RS, very tisane, namely bergamot, then pomegranate, orange and rose petal. Really nice Rosato. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Moscato Secco Ma Mù 2021, DOC Piemonte

Ma Mù (which carries a Champagne story), is local dialect to speak about the grape moscato and this is also experimental in that dry iterations are neither traditional nor normal. Yet here we are with the grape and the sugar fermented away to finish at 13 per cent alcohol. Barrel fermented on the lees for six months, made to last, to age a few years. Able to capture and maintain the origins of varietal aromatics and so the result is almost pinot gris in temperament, a little bit salty and simultaneously white floral. Citrus is all juice and the terpenes stay in control. This is the second vintage though the first was problematic due to reduction. This 2021 is clean and precise. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Barbera d’Asti DOCG Bassina 2021

Classic and traditional, never a thought of barriques, not even botti but only stainless steel and concrete. Modern and yet big enough to speak the language of red wine that thinks on its feet and walks a confident walk. “We have two advantages that makes better barbera than 10 years ago,” tells Andrea Costa. “One is climate which maintains acidity and the second is how we think better in both the vineyard and in the cellar.” Expressively juicy and bright, with roundness and mouth filling qualities. What we like to call generous and perfectly without astringencies. Clean as a whistle. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Ciresa 2019

The Superiore ages in botti for 18 months and the expression is much bolder, sanguine, accented by a number of herbs and spices. Caper and dill, tobacco, pine tree, balsamico, black cherry and persistent in its intensity. Needs air and agitation because the wood and the time have conspired for a bit of reduction that must be encouraged to leave the glass. It will if you have the patience and you will because there are charms and structural components worth waiting for. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Barbera d’Asti Nizza Riserva DOCG Zana

Zana is a cru in Castiglione (recently mapped out by Alesssandro Masnaghetti), high in elevation and the barbera here from Nizza ages 18 months in barriques and tonneaux. Does not show its wood so readily and in fact the fruit aromatics are quite pronounced. The air and breathability from elevation definitely help to keep the windows open in a barbera that should by all accounts be closed and unwilling. Not the case as this sky brightens and the wine shares its charms. Good structure here because of high ranking acidity leaning part sweet and part sour into the tannins. More singularity from Marenco, this time for Nizza. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Albrarossa Piemonte DOC 2019

Aged in the larger (15 hL) barrel, this time from a variety that has just one or two biotypes. Bottom line is that albarossa is dark matter, tarry, like heavy fuel and the wood only serves to accent what’s already there. Like petit sirah but in Piemonte, or perhaps malbec/tannat from Cahors but truthfully it’s what it is, of its own accord. But acidity here is all Monferrato meets Strevi and this kind of cimmerian red wine is an own character and style. Great acidity here that gives barbera a run for its money. A bit dill pickle and peppery reductive so give it some air. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG Pineto 2022

Pineto, the name of the church across the way. “This wine just needs people to open the bottle and drink it,” not to compare or think about anything else in the world. “It’s so unique” says Andrea Costa. Less muscle as compared to moscato, some tannin aka tisane from a day on skins and just the way of the grape. The grapes were heavier in 2022 because of the skins and thus the tannic sensation is gained. Strawberry and orange zest, cranberry and basilico. An ideal brachetto right here. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

Good to go!

godello

Moscato vineyard, Castiglione Tinella

Twitter: @mgodello

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WineAlign

Asti DOCG 2022 – Special Report

 

Asti’s ascent from authenticity to sustainability and unmistakable wines

as seen on WineAlign

The northwestern Italian territory of Asti DOCG covers the area of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato and together they form the first Italian wine landscape to be recognized as a UNESCO heritage site. The grape variety moscato bianco grows in vineyards in all three to cover the counties of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. The area is a cultural and modern gem in the heart of Piedmont (Piemonte, in Italian), about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River. A sense of spirit, community and great heart echoes and reverberates through wines voracious in their appetite to capture both traditions and also the new and forward thinking Asti stories. Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti are challenging wines to produce but these folkloric producers have to do it. It Is their heritage, imperative and pleasure.

Asti Spumante DOCG and Moscato d’Asti DOCG are considered as the two most authentically aromatic Italian white wines and rank among the great wines of Piedmont. Asti Spumante is undoubtedly the world’s best-known aromatic sparkling wine and Moscato d’Asti are among the few wines in which the sensory qualities of the grapes remain unaltered as a result of soft pressing and incomplete alcoholic fermentation. Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti are declinations of the same grape variety, made from 100 per cent moscato bianco grapes that grow on limestone soils in the UNESCO World Heritage hills between Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo. Asti Spumante can be tasted in different versions, from Extra Dry, Dry, Brut and the most popular Dolce, but also in the classic method or “Metodo Classico” version.

Asti DOCG Aromas

Asti Spumante DOCG

Asti Spumante DOCG is made entirely from moscato bianco grapes, gaining benefit from chalky soils and microclimates typical of hilly areas. It has a characteristic musky flavour, well-balanced sweetness, acidity and moderate alcohol content. In recent years Asti producers have set an important new course, paving the way to expanding the range of Asti styles, based on different residual sugar levels from Demi-Sec through Extra-Brut.

The concentration of the precious aromatic substances (called linalool) produced by the moscato bianco berries peaks in the last few weeks before the grapes are harvested in early September. Harvesting is still accomplished by hand to keep the bunches whole and preserve the characteristic aroma of the grapes – factors that contribute to making Asti Spumante the most widely consumed aromatic sparkling wine in the world.

Characterized by particularly fine and persistent beading, Asti offers a fresh mouthfeel that makes it suitable as a full-meal wine. On the nose, one can appreciate a delicate floral (acacia, lavender, sage) and fruity (apple, pear, banana) bouquet.

  • DOCG Status since: 1993
  • Grape variety: moscato bianco
  • Maximum grape yield: 10 tons/ha
  • Color: straw to pale gold
  • Foam: fine and persistent
  • Nose: fragrant, floral, with hints of linden and acacia
  • Taste: delicately sweet, aromatic, well-balanced
  • Clarity: brilliant
  • Minimum potential alcohol content: 11.5 per cent by volume; minimum actual alcohol seven per cent by volume for Asti Dolce and approximately 11 per cent for the other styles from Demi-Sec to Pas Dosé

Moscato d’Asti

Moscato d’Asti DOCG

Following the recognition of the Asti Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin (DOCG) status in 1993, Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti were identified as two different historical expressions of the same varietal. Moscato d’Asti DOCG is one of the most characteristic products of the Piedmontese wine tradition. The wine has a distinctively intense musky aroma of the grapes it is made from, a delicate flavour that is reminiscent of wisteria and linden, peach and apricot, with hints of sage, lemon and orange blossom. It has some residual sugar and a low alcohol content.

Moscato d’Asti DOCG is not technically or ostensibly a sparkling wine, as it only undergoes partial fermentation in pressure tanks. Fermentation is terminated when an alcohol content of about five per cent alcohol by volume is reached. The use of cold chain technology in the production process means the aromas and flavours of the grapes are preserved and the product can be stabilized, ready for storage and transportation.

  • DOCG Status since: 1993
  • Grape variety: moscato bianco
  • Maximum grape yield: 10 tons/ha
  • Colour: straw yellow
  • Foam: fine and persistent
  • Nose: fragrant, floral, with hints of sage
  • Taste: delicately sweet, aromatic, characteristic
  • Clarity: brilliant
  • Minimum potential alcohol content: 11 per cent by volume; minimum actual alcohol 4.5 per cent by volume

For Moscato d’Asti it begins, as it must, with weight and measurements. The math is straightforward: 100 kilograms of grapes is equal to 86 of must. The first press of moscato yields 15 per cent of that 86, or 13 kg. Often only a small percentage is used for the top cuvée. The rest of the must is kept at freezing temperature (approximately -2 degrees celsius) and there are producers that keep past vintages (generally up to four) for the production of their Moscato d’Asti wines. The DOCG rule says that a vintage dated wine must consist of 75 per cent must from that year’s production.

As for recent vintages, 2021 is certainly close to the top while 2020 is widely considered to be la crème de la crème. That said 2019 was not the most aromatic, like 2016, very hot and the moscato grape does not need too much sun. The grapes will dry out, burn, lose freshness and perfumes. From tasting the must you smell honey which proves the grapes are not perfectly mature. This is where the vision of using 25 per cent must from the three preceding vintages works to great advantage. Phenolic holes are filled, absent aromas are engaged and layers of intricacy are cast. Smell an example of 17 and note the exaggerated development, rich and full of glycerin, nearly cloying. The 2016s are certainly sweet and somewhat out of balance, but there is delicacy, floral notes and it’s never cloying. The ’18s are clearer, easier to comprehend, showing nary a trace of honey. The presence of white flowers and apricot in a wine lighter in hue and more delicate in mien speaks exactly to what producers are after. When fermentation happens those aromas increase by 80 per cent. There’s the rub and the magic. Special terroirs like Castiglione Tinella are the kind that breed some of the highest acidity for moscato. A pH that averages out at 3.4 when bottled will lower to 3.1, because this is when the acidity rises.

Consorzio dell’Asti

The Consorzio coordinates and promotes the area of origin of moscato bianco grapes, whose cultivation covers approximately 10,000 hectares across 51 municipalities of the provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo. There are 10,000 hectares of vineyards for these lightly sparkling, off-dry to sweet Asti white wines and the Consorzio is entrusted to promote and protect the wines in the appellation. They are widely imitated and so undertaking legal action and registering trademarks in every country is a necessary side-hustle of the job. In terms of producer requests, all changes and modifications applied for must be approved by the consortium. An integral aspect of the work involves field, vineyard as well as laboratory research. More than 1,400 ha have a gradient over 40 per cent, with 330 hectares of this area over 50 per cent. These are vineyards historically named sorì, where no mechanical equipment can be used and vines are tended exclusively by hand. The Asti DOCG hills were the first vineyard landscape to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Born in 1932, the Consortium for the Promotion of Asti has a clear mission: to perform all the necessary actions to protect, promote and enhance the value of Asti and Moscato d’Asti, in Italy and the world. The sustainable manifesto is clear and one day spent inside the offices of the Consortium will instruct and explain all you need to know about economic, social, environmental, export, security and what Italians refer to as disciplinare policies. Regulations regarding vineyard yields, levels of alcohol, sugar, extract and bars of pressure are so defined as to ensure current production and sales viability but also explicitly what the next generation will need to carry the work forward.

Moscato Bianco

The Consortium carries out technical assistance, draws up research proposals and economic assessments aimed at enhancing the value of the designation. It is there to protect and safeguard from improper use, unfair competition and counterfeiting, Asti’s officers carry out, on behalf of all those who are subject to the designation-related checks, the functions of protection, promotion and valourization, as well as informing consumers and generally looking after special interests. Policies are adopted regulating supply in order to contribute to improved coordination of the designation’s distribution on the market, through consultations with sector representatives. The consorzio plans for improving the quality of the products that must appear before judicial and administrative authorities, in Italy and abroad, in order to safeguard and protect the designation and defend the interests and rights of the producers. Surveillance actions are carried out, mainly in the distribution stage.

The Hills

The hills of the Langhe are elongated, with extended crests and steeper slopes, while those of the Monferrato are rounder and gentler to look upon. Two different landscapes, with infinite variations. Where life prospers among the orderly rows of grapevines, tended by hand as they have always been. Where the seasons bring new colors against the majestic crown of the Alps, where the horizon stretches out to infinity. Where every detail amazes and warms the heart, to be treasured forever. Un territorio Patrimonio dell’Umanità. Sedimentary soils that date back 10-15 million years predominate. One is the Pliocenic basin of Asti to the northeast. The to the west around Canelli there are Serravallian (Middle Miocene) soils, stratified layers of blue clay, sand and lime. Many believe this to be the best composition for Moscato d’Asti. To the east in the area of Strevi the ground is Tortonian (late Miocene), younger at five to 10 million years, with more clay and more lime in deeper layers and colour.

The crux of the varietal situation is twofold, at once for vineyards subsisting at the foot of the Alps and also drawing energy being proximate to the sea. Seventy-five per cent of the vineyards are directly protected by the mountains. As seemingly everywhere, climate is changing here too. In the last 15 years average temperatures have increased by one degree. In the past 58 years the average increase has been by two. More important are temperature abnormalities. The centrepiece moscato bianco is a very sensitive grape and easily subjected to diseases.

Guyot training is appropriate for poor quality soils and lower yields. Broken down by altitude, 44 per cent of the vineyards are at 250-300m and 30 per cent at 300-450m. In terms of slope, 2,770 of 9,700ha have a gradient higher than 30 per cent, 336 ha with a gradient of more than 50. “Heroic agriculture” is the moniker bestowed. “The Sorì vineyards.” No mechanization is employed and a certain crucial must is picking times, especially in terms of the preservation of moscato bianco’s aromatic compounds.  Yields per hectare are set at 9.5 tonnes for Asti and Moscato d’Asti.

Moscato Vineyard

The Consortium’s Laboratorio Analisi for the Tutela dell’Asti DOCG is one of the most advanced and technologically impressive anywhere, with the mechanization capable of carrying out a diverse set of analyses. Under the guise of Guido Bezzo, who incidentally also happens to be a virtuoso trumpeter, the lab exerts its expertise far beyond pedestrian testing of alcohol, sugar and varietal purity. It delves deeper than mere organoleptic conclusions. The lab’s research works to investigate the impact analysis results for one 750 mL bottle of Asti wine covering categories that includes a mind-boggling set of parameters: Climate change; Reduction of the ozone layer; Toxicity and carcinogenic effects on humans; Particulate/smog caused by emissions of inorganic substances; Ionizing radiation effects on human inorganic health; Photochemical ozone formation; Acidification; Terrestrial, aquatic and marine eutrophication; Ecotoxicity in freshwater aquatic environments; Soil transformation; Resource depletion in water, minerals and fossils. Heady stuff indeed.

The 60,000 tonnes kept at negative four degrees in summer costs dearly in equipment and energy. It is widely believed that juice can stay in tank for up to two years without losing aromatic concentration. Fermentation takes place at 20 degrees in pressure tanks developed by Italian sparkling wine pioneer Dr. Federico Martinotti, director of the Research Institute for the Wine of Asti, who patented the method in 1895. Martinotti is credited with creating the method of developing the bubbles inside of tanks. The juice can stand pressures of more than 10 bars. Yeasts must be stopped abruptly (in a matter of a few hours) to avoid off odours and flavours, i.e rotten egg and cooked cabbage. Centrifuge and filters are used. In the past pasteurization at 50 degrees was the norm but now micro filtration screens out the yeast (at 0.2 microns) and stabilizes the wines. Agronomist/viticuilturalist Daniele Eberle also explains how Fratelli Gancia used the same techniques that the French used here in Piemonte in the late 1800s. The city of Canelli, cultural home of Asti holds the highest concentration of companies that make all the equipment necessary for bottling Spumante wines.

The association soon yielded positive results. Production gradually increased from two million bottles in the 1940s to forty million in the 1970s. A figure more than doubled nowadays. The history of the Consortium is all Piedmontese and begins from the town that is considered the capital par excellence of spumante: Canelli. It was in its cellars that, day after day, with dedication and affection, techniques were refined that nowadays give us a fine, delicate and unmistakeable sparkling wine like Asti DOCG. The know-how handed down for generations, together with the latest scientific discoveries, have led to the optimization of the production process and the definition of important procedures indispensable to guarantee the high quality of Asti DOCG.

Good to go!

godello

Twitter: @mgodello

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WineAlign

Coppo: Feet on Canelli ground since 1892

Luigi Coppo is grounded in tradition, family, heritage and by a contiguous connection through generational continuance. That much is clear. I’ve met with and tasted Coppo’s wines three times over the last three years; during Barolo’s Collisioni Festival, July 2017, at Relais San Maurizio in Santo Stefano Belbo, December 2018 and most recently at the family’s Canelli estate in December, 2019. Since 1892 Coppo has been nestled in the favourable company of fellow producers Gancia and Bosco, together forming a link between these three most historical wineries in Canelli. Coppo’s Barbera d’Asti and in particular their Pomorosso cru from Nizza Monferrato’s hills are intimately integral charges and while it may have long been established, the advancing Luigi Coppo led Sparkling wine program will push further than merely rivalling the best of Alta Langa. Lookout Franciacorta. Take heed Champagne. And though these estate masterpieces in constant progress will duly impress sommeliers and collectors worldwide, Luigi Coppo still pulls for the workhorses and insists that “Moscato d’Asti is definitely the heritage of our hills.” That amongst their 56 farmed hectares surely counts for something. This is the actuality and presence of Luigi Coppo in Piemonte: Determined, ambitious and yet always cognizant of his roots. All the Coppos in fact; Gianni, Paolo, Luigi, Roberto and Piero. Feet on Canelli ground since 1892.

Luigi Coppo

Related – Three DOCG pillars of Asti: Secco, Dolce, Moscato d’Asti

Much has changed since Luigi’s great-grandfather Piero started the estate in 1892. Today production is 500,000 bottles annually. In another three-pronged producer connection Coppo can make Barolo here in Canelli, along with Scarpa and Bersano. And in 1977 it was Carlo Gancia who as the first in Italy to do so, returned from Champagne to employ moscato in traditional method bubbles. Luigi Coppo is also making use of the Canelli tufo azzuro soils, a mix of blue clay and limestone so ideal for growing grapes to turn them into many variations of sparkling wine. He too embraced the new Alta Langa appellation, beginning in 2010. A specific area was identified, chardonnay and pinot noir were planted and the 30 month lees aging methodology was put into place. Following the dreams of Grandfather Luigi who desired to produce a Bourgogne-style in Piemonte, chardonnay was planted 35 years ago. After nonno passed away in 1994 Luigi’s father Paolo decided to keep the dream alive. Monteriolo sees nine months on lees in barriques; big, buttery, modern and luscious.

Related – Living wine in the moment at Scarpa Winery

The Nizza Classico barbera come from several Monferrato villages while the Pomorosso cru, first made in 1998 sees new French oak for 14-18 months. Moscato d’Asti gets stelvin closures, the wines that age for five to six months are sealed under Diam and real corks for anything longer. The natural barrel cellar was finished in 1970, 42m below ground level. As for the heritage one, says Luigi, “Moscato loves altitude compared to barbera. It’s now time to talk about Moscato d’Asti as a serious wine because it’s very difficult to make. We don’t add sugar or carbonize and it is a vintage wine. These are the three natural and honest things about moscato.”

Related – Rock steady Bersano

What do Coppo’s wines do for us? How are they helpful and perhaps even life-affirming? The truth lies in Luigi Coppo’s humanity and dedication to the things that matter. Something has to save us from ourselves, especially in times such as these, from being inside our heads. Luigi’s wines are the sort to make our wisdom bearable, to rescue us, if nothing else from the ever-bearing fever of begotten biological and ecological destiny. These are the five wines tasted at Coppo.

Coppo 1892 Luigi Coppo Brut Metodo Classico 2016, Vino Spumante Di Qualita DOC, Piedmont, Italy ($40.00 – Estimate)

Traditional method varietal pinot noir in sparkling form, 24 months on its lees and no wood aging. Gainfully fresh and joyous, just a pinch of dosage and regaled, mainly by strawberry but also a sweetly savoury push. Crushable bubbles in the parlance of our times. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Coppo 1892 Piero Coppo Riserva Del Fondatore 2007, Vino Spumante Di Qualita DOC, Piedmont, Italy ($220.00 – Estimate)

A 60-40 split of pinot noir and chardonnay that was at a near to previous time a varietal wine of the first but with 90 months on the lees and more complex notions conceived it was necessary to bring the latter into the mix. This was disgorged in July 2017. The tartufo bianco in this wine is simply uncanny. That and a toasty precision as if by a Japanese chef’s hand, a toasted piece of perfect white bread to the edges in 100 per cent equality by golden caramelization. Sandwich a piece of reverse seared Kobe rib-eye in between two buttered slices with a side of potato chips and creamy cole slaw and Coppo’s your uncle. Mimic with foie gras if you must. Up to you. Drink 2019-2026.  Tasted December 2019

Coppo 1892 Monteriolo 2017, DOC Piemonte, Piedmont, Italy ($92.00 – Estimate)

A father and an uncle’s chardonnay dedication to their father with a Bourgignons style and philosophy. This just released ’17 saw nine months on lees in French barriques. Toasty in a “Batard” Italianate way, nearly gingered and a low-yield meets high concentration and alcohol (though maxing out at 13.0 per cent) and purposefully ripe. The hot year took away some control and thus the warm biscuit and accentuating spice notes. A little caramelization and while the joy will be a year or so away it will be a shorter lasting period, albeit a highly anticipated and relishing one. Verdant finish with a scape of citrus zests. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted December 2019

Coppo 1892 Barbera D’asti Nizza DOCG Pomorosso 2017, Piedmont, Italy ($74.95 – Estimate)

A blend of areas, Nizza Monferrato, Castelnuovo Calcea and Agliano Terme, first produced in 1984. “If you want to make Nizza all of your vineyards have to face south,“ explains Luigi Coppo. The exposures gather three levels of sunlight and with 15 days of fully extractive macerated practices the tannins are necessarily pulled to their limit. With varietal acidity set to a natural high there is a three-pronged effect that expresses three separate platitudes and layers for long-term effect. Add the warmth of ’17 and the degree of difficulty and margin for error is very stringent. Castelnuovo Calcea was the last to pick and still only at the end of the first week of September. There’s a phenolic-minor note from the vintage that’s ostensibly unavoidable in a composition like this and yet the richness and structure are non-compromised. Tough to follow the ideal 2016. Drink 2021-2028.  Tasted December 2019

Coppo 1892 Moscato d’Asti DOCG Moncalvina “Canelli” 2018, Piedmont, Italy ($23.20 – Estimate)

“Moscato loves altitude as compared to barbera,” tells Luigi Coppo, “and now is the time to think about Moscato d’Asti.” Luigi says it’s a serious wine because it’s difficult to make. No sugars are added or carbonization performed and it’s a vintage wine. These are the three tenets that matter most. From Canelli vineyards between 200-280m and the classicism of construct and effect is pure magic in proper and precise, sleight of hand ability. That’s what it needs to be, no more, no less. Naturally sweet, a pinch of salt and all the orchard fruit; apple, pear, lemon and orange. All together in balance and gift with tannin on a real dry finish. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2019

Good to go!

godello

Twitter: @mgodello

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WineAlign

Three DOCG pillars of Asti: Secco, Dolce, Moscato d’Asti

For a wine region to succeed it must exercise sustainable principles and do so by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Investment argues for three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social, a.k.a. people, planet and profits. In scientific terms sustainability refers to an ecosystem’s ability to exist constantly at a cost within a universe that evolves towards thermodynamic equilibrium within a state of maximum entropy. A modern vernacular would speak of the coexistence between humans and their host biosphere. A transfer of these ideological theories into wine-speak says that in Asti the growers, producers and their appointed Tutela dell’Asti DOCG chaperones have collectively agreed to set the appellative wines of Asti Secco DOCG, Asti Dolce DOCG and Moscato d’Asti DOCG as representative of their present and future. Three pillars of Asti.

“Born in 1932, the Consortium for the Promotion of Asti has a clear mission: to perform all the necessary actions to protect, promote and enhance the value of Asti and Moscato d’Asti, in Italy and the world.” The sustainable manifesto is clear and one day spent inside the offices of the Consortium will instruct and explain all you need to know about economic, social, environmental, export, security and what Italians refer to as disciplinare policies. Regulations regarding vineyard yields, levels of alcohol, sugar, extract and bars of pressure are so defined as to ensure current production and sales viability but also explicitly what the next generation will need to carry the work forward.

Guido Bezzo and the Asti lab crew

The Consortium’s Laboritorio Analisi for the Tutela dell’Asti DOCG is one of the most advanced and technologically impressive anywhere, with the mechanization capable of carrying out a diverse set of analyses. Under the guise of Guido Bezzo, who incidentally also happens to be a virtuoso trumpeter, the lab exerts its expertise far beyond pedestrian testing of alcohol, sugar and varietal purity. It delves deeper than mere organoleptic conclusions. The lab’s research works to investigate the impact analysis results for one 750 mL bottle of Asti wine covering categories that includes a mind-boggling set of parameters: Climate change; Reduction of the ozone layer; Toxicity and carcinogenic effects on humans; Particulate/smog caused by emissions of inorganic substances; Ionizing radiation effects on human inorganic health; Photochemical ozone formation; Acidification; Terrestrial, aquatic and marine eutrophication; Ecotoxicity in freshwater aquatic environments; Soil transformation; Resource depletion in water, minerals and fossils. Heady stuff indeed.

Dinner at Teatro Alfieri, Asti with President of the Consorzio Moscato d’Asti DOCG President Romano Dogliotti

La Caudrina’s Romano Dogliotti is President of the Consorzio dell’Asti DOCG and like so many Langhe winemakers, he is intrinsically tied to tradition but with a decisive openness to new technologies. In line withy many of his compatriots, Dogliotto’s Moscato d’Asti is made by putting yeast and moscato grape must in an autoclave. The must ferments at low temperature in this reinforced fermentation vessel until about half the natural sugar is consumed, then the wine is quickly passed through a micron filter to arrest the fermentation. The result is Moscato d’Asti at five and a half degrees of alcohol by volume and enough residual sweetness to conjure the feeling of eating ripe orchard fruit. In Asti the moscato comes out three ways: Secco, Dolce, Moscato d’Asti.

There are 10,000 hectares of vineyards for these lightly sparkling, off-dry to sweet Asti white wines and the Consorzio is entrusted to promote and protect the wines in the appellation. They are widely imitated and so undertaking legal action and registering trademarks in every country is a necessary side-hustle of the job. In terms of producer requests, all changes and modifications applied for must be approved by the consortium. An integral aspect of the work involves field, vineyard as well as laboratory research.

Teatro Alfieri, Asti

Asti covers parts of 52 communes, three provinces; Asti, Cuneo, Alessandria and three territories; Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. The vineyard landscape of these three famous Piedmontese areas were recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014, Un territorio Patrimonio dell’Umanità. Sedimentary soils that date back 10-15 million years predominate. One is the Pliocenic basin of Asti to the northeast. The to the west around Canelli there are Serravallian (Middle Miocene) soils, stratified layers of blue clay, sand and lime. Many believe this to be the best composition for Moscato d’Asti. To the east in the area of Strevi the ground is Tortonian (late Miocene), younger at five to 10 million years, with more clay and more lime in deeper layers and colour. 

Laboritorio Analisi for the Tutela dell’Asti DOCG

The crux of the varietal situation is twofold, at once for vineyards subsisting at the foot of the Alps and also drawing energy being proximate to the sea. Seventy-five per cent of the vineyards are directly protected by the mountains. As seemingly everywhere, climate is changing here too. In the last 15 years average temperatures have increased by one degree. In the past 58 years the average increase has been by two. More important are temperature abnormalities. The centrepiece moscato bianco is a very sensitive grape and easily subjected to diseases. A study of 15 experimental vineyards continues to assess the vintages and the shifting climatic effect on the wines.

Agnolotti al tartufo bianco, Ristorante Cascinale Nuovo (Isola d’Asti – http://www.walterferretto.com)

Guyot training is appropriate for poor quality soils and lower yields. Broken down by altitude, 44 per cent of the vineyards are at 250-300m and 30 per cent at 300-450m. In terms of slope, 2,770 of 9,700ha have a gradient higher than 30 per cent, 336 ha with a gradient of more than 50. “Heroic agriculture” is the moniker bestowed. “The Sorì vineyards.” No mechanization is employed and a certain crucial must is picking times, especially in terms of the preservation of moscato bianco’s aromatic compounds.  Yields per hectare are set at 9.5 tonnes for Asti and Moscato d’Asti, the approximate price at 1.1 Euro.

With Andrea Costa, Vini Marenco

The 60,000 tonnes kept at negative four degrees in summer costs dearly in equipment and energy. It is widely believed that juice can stay in tank for up to two years without losing aromatic concentration. Fermentation takes place at 20 degrees in pressure tanks developed by Italian sparkling wine pioneer Dr. Federico Martinotti, director of the Research Institute for the Wine of Asti, who patented the method in 1895. Martinotti is credited with creating the method of developing the bubbles inside of tanks. The juice can stand pressures of more than 10 bars. Yeasts must be stopped abruptly (in a matter of a few hours) to avoid off odours and flavours, i.e rotten egg and cooked cabbage. Centrifuge and filters are used. In the past pasteurization at 50 degrees was the norm but now micro filtration screens out the yeast (at 0.2 microns) and stabilizes the wines. Agronomist/viticuilturalist Daniele Eberle also explains how Fratelli Gancia used the same techniques that the French used here in Piemonte in the late 1800s. The city of Canelli, cultural home of Asti holds the highest concentration of companies that make all the equipment necessary for bottling Spumante wines.

Étretat – Claude Monet, Palazzo Mazzetti

These are the disciplinare for the three appellation wines:

  • Asti Dolce DOCG: 6-7 per cent alcohol by volume, 90-100 g/L residual sugar and Sparkling at maximum 4-5 bars of pressure
  • Moscato d’Asti DOCG: Minimum 4.5 up to 6.5 per cent alcohol by volume, 120-130 g/L residual sugar and Sparkling at maximum 2.5 bars of pressure 
  • Asti Secco DOCG: Minimum 11.0 per cent alcohol by volume, 17 g/L residual sugar and Sparkling at 3-3.5 maximum bars of pressure

Massive thanks to Mariana Nedic, Marina Nedic, Ana Murguia and the staff at IEEM Communications. Looking back at December travels and work assignments in Italy I now find myself focusing in on the new and forward thinking Moscato d’Asti stories in the heart of Piemonte. Tough wines to produce but these traditional producers have to do it. It Is their heritage, imperative and pleasure. At the Consorzio dell’Asti in Isola d’Asti the steps and stages of Asti’s gently sparkling wines gave way to a blind tasting of the following seven. 

Blind Tasting

Duchessa Lia Asti Secco DOCG Santo Stefano Belbo, Piedmont, Italy

Lime and a soapy entry but on the drier side, likely Asti Secco. Feels like 15 g/L of sugar with gentle and supportive acidity. Somewhere between peach and pear, clean and perhaps too much so. Certainly a fine mousse and persistence. A new style from which the aromatics are diminished and yet the gain in versatility in this case indicates one done well. Does well to avoid the potential of bitters marking the finish. Alcohol is at 11.0 per cent and sugars could be as high as 17 g/L though this seems lower in the 10-12 range. Drink 2019-2021. Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Acquesi Asti Dolce DOCG, Piedmont, Italy ($13.95)

Asti Dolce for sure, crazy sweet and reminiscent of a lime creamsicle. Aromatic but not overtly so, all controlled by the sugars and so very cloying. Exceptionally foamy, creamed and whipped in mousse. Perfectly suited to flavour a zabaglione to work alongside hazelnuts baked into a soft, crumbly cake. Alcohol at 7.0 per cent and sugars at 90-100 g/L. Drink 2019.  Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Gancia Asti Secco DOCG Cuvée Asti 24 Messi Método Classico 2012, Piedmont, Italy

A wine that owes to the experience of Carlo Gancia in Canelli. Wildly aromatic, a Langhe experiential moment straight away conceived and delivered. A Piedmontese traditional method bubble that is clearly more complex than kin simplicities. Bottle fermented and made from grapes harvested in 2012. Recently disgorged so at least six years on the lees technically Asti Dolce but really no affinity because the secondary and even tertiary aromas are in. Baking scents and oxidative meets caramelized notes are part of the mix, as is this ginger-orange créme brûlée with a healthy compliment of torched sugar flavours. A complex mess of aromatics, next level texture and most of all, multi-developed levels and layers of sweetness. Drink 2019-2022. Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Bèra Moscato d’ Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy ($29.30)

Now into Moscato d’Asti with the most classic presentation, aromatically effusive, effective, generous and free. The sweetness in such a moscato is so very stone fruit based and subjected to a perfectly ripe squeeze of more than one citrus. Lemon, lime and orange without forgetting the smells of their blossoms. Quite correct and more so, leaving an impression that is not soon left for dust. From fruit grown in Meviglie at the limit of Neive. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti DOCG Nivole 2018, Piedmont, Italy (650440, $9.75, 375ml)

Waxy, aerosol citrus and perhaps a year older with prevalent if weighty acids that settle this Moscato d’Asti into a secondary period. Both aromatics and freshness are diminished though so seem the sugars so the balance is still well-afforded. Ultimately a perfect example of the ripe peach scents so expected from Moscato d’Asti. Drink 2019-2021. Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Mongioia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Crivella 2016, Piedmont, Italy

Quite toasty and though no wood was used it shows a remarkably semi-oxidative and lightly caramelized character that brings colour, cooked apple and creamy nectarine mousse. It has certainly come to a more interesting and charming place with just a moment’s liquorice and this white fig flavour. Worth some fun and giggles with persistent acids. Fruit from steep vineyards in Santo Stefano Belbo in the province of Cuneo at the border of Asti. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Mongioia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Crivella 2003, Piedmont, Italy

Quite the advanced Moscato d’Asti here at the edge of tumbling down from the Sorì. Oxidative and fully caramelized notes, with preserved lemon, torched orange and candied ginger. The sugars are accentuated as a result of the diminishing acidity. Still a joyous showing for a 16 year-old moscato. Fruit from steep vineyards in Santo Stefano Belbo in the province of Cuneo at the border of Asti. Drink 2019.  Tasted December 2019

Tasting next door to Monet

After the Masterclass and blind tasting we transferred to Asti and convened in Palazzo Mazzetti for a walk-around with the producers in the company of a small but exquisite exhibit, “Monet e gli Impressionisti.” These winemakers are finding new success by making use of advanced technologies, higher altitudes, specific soils and identifiable crus. These are the Moscato d’Asti I tasted and the world may know they are to be reckoned with.

Azienda Agricola Cerino Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

A curious and interesting moscato this one, fresh enough and so very basil herbal, then white flowers and lime. A touch refined in white sweetness, also tart, long and elastic. Unique and quite fine. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Gallo Cascina Cabonaldo Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Located in Montabone, halfway between Canelli (to the west) and Acqui Terme (to the southeast). The vineyards at 320m help strengthen the haughty aromatics, even while this moscato acts pale and sallow though clearly fresh, clean and seemingly simple. Nothing wrong with that in fact this is one of the easiest feats of drinking amenability. Direct, correct and highly effective. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Lorenzo Gozzelino and Silviana Ignat

Azienda Agricola Gozzelino Sergio Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Righteous, energetic, ripe and frantic moscato is exemplary as such because it enlivens the heart and enlightens the mind. Big, bouncy, bountiful and welling with blossom aromatics leading to rich, striking, full flavour. Lemon and apricot develop a marmalade of unction, glycerin and natural texture. This fruit from Gozzelino’s vineyards is top notch. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Gozzelino Moscato Passito DOC Piemonte 2012, Piedmont, Italy

Following the manual picking of withered Moscato grapes in November they are pressed and put in refrigerated vats under controlled fermentation. In dessert wine terms for moscato in Piedmont this is the truth, spirited and flashy. Pineapple with an adage of savour in pencil lead and sage of a texture in silken layers. Brazil Nuts are all over the finish as a nougat or an ulterior marzipan. Textbook stuff. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Scagliola Giacomo E Figlio Moscato d’Asti DOCG Sifasol 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Located in Canelli here’s a sweetly viscous moscato very lime-driven from calcareous terroir. High quality acidity off the sorì (top portion) from south-facing vines 70 years of age. High level scents of orange blossom, apricot and sage, so typical of Canelli. Really balanced moscato in every respect. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca di Alpiste Federico e Andrea is located in Mango at 520-550m, one of the highest points in the Langhe and not far from Castagnole. This for moscato is surely something other, something curious, sweetly magical. Hard not to love a glass. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Moscato d’Asti Vignot DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Terrabianca’s Vignot cru moscato is from Canelli off a south exposure for vines of 65 years-old. One of the richest Moscato d’Asti wines you will ever indulge in the fine, smooth and feathery way of lemon curd, but also paraffin waxy and spiked by a limoncello spirit. Zested, striking, maximizing varietal and stylistic enjoyment. Clearly a cut above and so very singular. Drink 2019-2024.  Tasted December 2019

Ristorante Cascinale Nuovo (Isola d’Asti – http://www.walterferretto.com)

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Moscato d’Asti Vignot DOCG 2012, Piedmont, Italy

A rare opportunity to taste the possibilities in aged Moscato d’Asti, here from Terrabianca’s south-facing Vignot cru in Canelli off of vines of 65 years of age. Vines that soak up maximum sun, not just to promote an oriented sweet richesse but also the ability to age. Now having developed honey and the early stages of petrol and persistent tonal depth. Spurts of lemon are the near-term projection with a real smoulder on the vaporous horizon. Really smart stuff in a world of similitude occupied by the likes of riesling and sémillon. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Moscato d’Asti DOCG Paiè 2018, Piedmont, Italy

From the hills of Alto Monferrato in and about turn of face with 100 per cent of the moscato grapes subjected to a passito methodology of drying for a few months before turning into sparkling wine. Finishes at 5.5 per cent alcohol and 150 g/L of residual sugar. “It is a new way of showing Moscato d’Asti,” tells the spokesperson on behalf of the choir for 100 members. There can be no argument there. Royally sweet and unequivocally in hyperbole of all the aromatic and fruit concentrated aspects of the Md’A style. Truly haughty and heightened in caricature respect. Is it too much? Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Cantina Tre Secoli Moscato D’asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Located in Canelli Tre Secoli’s moscato is so correct. Combines the full frontal aromatic attack with an easing into back end creaminess and big orange citrus flavour. Perfectly ripe and intentional mild sparkling wine with moments occupied by lemon, lime curd and apricot marmalade. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Coppo 1892 Moscato d’Asti DOCG Moncalvina “Canelli” 2018, Piedmont, Italy ($23.20 – Estimate)

“Moscato loves altitude as compared to barbera,” tells Luigi Coppo, “and now is the time to think about Moscato d’Asti.” Luigi says it’s a serious wine because it’s difficult to make. No sugars are added or carbonization performed and it’s a vintage wine. These are the three tenets that matter most. From Canelli vineyards between 200-280m and the classicism of construct and effect is pure magic in proper and precise, sleight of hand ability. That’s what it needs to be, no more, no less. Naturally sweet, a pinch of salt and all the orchard fruit; apple, pear, lemon and orange. All together in balance and gift with tannin on a real dry finish. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2019

Fontanafredda Asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Intense and sharp, mildly herbal and heavy into the citrus to contrast and compliment the heavy sweetness. Some finishing bitters add a feeling of complexity. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Tartufo Bianco, Ristorante Cascinale Nuovo (Isola d’Asti – http://www.walterferretto.com)

Fontanafredda Moscato d’Asti DOCG Le Fronde 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Here lies Moscato d’Asti at the furthest edge of sweetness and creamy consistency. After the pleasant aromas of peaches and crème frâiche come the stirring moments of a dull anxiety. That feeling of imbalance marks the finish. Drink 2019.  Tasted December 2019

Gianni Doglia Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy ($20.00 – Estimate)

The 25th anniversary bottling that combs all the moscato vineyards on the estate though truth be told they all produce quite different wines. “Gianni’s dream was to produce the best moscato ever,” tells sister Paola. The clarity and clean, clean living is evident and with thanks to upstart acidity to balance the sugars. A soil-driven expression of moscato for a fresh and crunchy result. Peaches meet white balsamic for some genuine complexity. Eight to ten bottlings are made each year from wine that sits suspended at one degree in juice format inside steel tanks. At this time of year there is no danger of fermentation. A wine of 5.0 per cent alcohol. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Gianni Doglia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Casa di Bianca 2018, Piedmont, Italy ($20.00 – Estimate)

A single-vineyard moscato from 35 year-old vines and the plot Gianni’s grandfather just knew grew the best vines and so Gianni first decided to separate it from the pack in 2012. And so this particular moscato sees eight or nine months on the lees and finds a next level of complexity for the stylistic and the tradition. Gives a yeasty note on top of green apple, melon, orange blossom and fine herbs. The acidity is greater and so energy is exercised in perpetual motion. The alcohol result is just slightly higher at 5.5 per cent. A wine completely unique in this world that may just deliver some petrol and paraffin with a few years time. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2019

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Strev 2018, Piedmont, Italy

From Strevi in the province of Alessandria equidistant from both Alba and Asti to form a correct isosceles. Strev is the moscato work of Andrea Costa, winemaker Patrizia Marenco and team. Several vineyards in the area are suited to aromatic varieties because of soil composition (white clay, marl and limestone) off of cooler hillsides at 300-320m. Most important is the diurnal shift between day and night temperature. This is the epitome of aromatic preservation on the lemon-lime-orange freshness scale with good acids and next level goodness. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Andrea Costa and Laura Kaminsky, Vini Marenco

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Scarpona 2016, Piedmont, Italy

Andrea Costa has a boyish grin and wink in his eye when he delivers this three year-old moscato into my glass and for good reason. This is the revolution in moscato d’asti, the one made so bloody intriguing surely due to innovation projects both in the vineyards and cellar. There’s an affinity here with Collio friulano and sauvignon, namely because of the elasticity and surely the transferrable aromas, in a marine-mountain sandwich effect or what we expect from typical Moscato d’Asti. Moves through passion fruit and mineral-flinty-elemental strikes, so much so the sugars are forgotten. Smouldering, so curious and of more depth than many. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Matteo Soria Moscato d’Asti DOCG Soria 2019, Piedmont, Italy ($16.00 – Estimate)

Bottled last week, barely moved in, likely not yet settled into its new digs. Made up of 75 per cent 2019 (as per appellation rule) plus a mix of the three previous vintages. Crisp, cleaner and waxier than the ’16 with sharper acidity and leaner flavours. Heavily aromatic and even a bit herbal but just so linear, searing and lightning quick in reflex motion. That said the ripeness is just a tad short of ideal and so Matteo seems to have gone straight to freshness and intensity. It was the correct choice with a little help from the last three vintage friends. All about finding more aromas. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti DOCG Nivole 2019, Piedmont, Italy (650440, $9.75, 375ml)

Waxy, aerosol citrus and perhaps a year older with prevalent if weighty acids that settle this Moscato d’Asti into a secondary period. Both aromatics and freshness are diminished though so seem the sugars so the balance is still well-afforded. Ultimately a perfect example of the ripe peach scents so expected from Moscato d’Asti. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Tenuta Langasco Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Very accomplished moscato from Langasco out of Madonna di Como in the hills surrounding the city of Alba. As aromatic as should be, could be, would be or might ever be desired. You can’t miss the blossoms, peach and citrus, then juiced for maximum effect. The parts are all arranged one, two, three together. Very special. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio E Vaglio Serra Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

A perfectly reasoned and seasoned Moscato d’Asti, blossoms blooming and varietally profiled through their aromatic presence. Very lemon and honeyed as if by Passito but the concentration goers it natural and alone. Clean, caressing and just lovely. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

With the Martini Boys

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio E Vaglio Serra Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Persistently stable, crunchy and crisp moscato from the great cooperative, high in acids and big, brilliant flavours. Grand squeeze of lime juice and has lost nary an aromatic or textural step due to an extra year in bottle, in fact the freshness is on pare if not trying to edge past and exceed the newer 2019. Really fine 2018. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Good to go!

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