Moscato d’Asti

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Moscato d’Asti, fragrant and lightly sweet, gently fizzy, dessert wine made in the piemonte region of north-west Italy now of docg status. It is produced from moscato bianco, Italy’s name for the aristocratic muscat blanc à petits grains, whose production in and around the town of asti increased enormously in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Santo Stefano Belbo is considered the cradle of Moscato in Piemonte, and at the end of the 19th century almost 80% of all Moscato was grown in the calcareous soils of Canelli, Santo Stefano Belbo, Calosso, Castiglione Tinella, and Cassinasco. Strevi, Riccaldone, and Acqui Terme in the province of Alessandria, then and now a source of excellent Moscato, produced another 5% of the total. These are still considered the classic zones for fine Moscato, although expansion of the zone has revealed a real vocation for Moscato on the slopes of Cossano Belbo, Mango, Neviglie, and Trezzo Tinella. Moscato d’Asti is therefore something of a misnomer, since much of the production is not in the province of Asti at all but in the province of Cuneo (stretching as far as Serralunga Alba in the eastern part of the barolo zone), and a significant proportion is in the province of Alessandria. Renewed commercial success, especially in the US, has put pressure on the consorzio to enlarge the production zone further, but by 2014 this had so far been resisted.