Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

Diary 30: first day in Asti DOCG

This really is a diary entry: a first day in Asti DOCG. For the first time in nearly two years, Janet and I are in Piemonte, visiting wineries, talking to technical experts and enjoying brilliant early autumn sunshine. After months of tasting samples and Zoom calls, it is great to actually be here and enjoy a first day in Asti.

The highlights

Visiting Scagliola in the morning and Mario Soria, two Asti specialists was a real treat. The technical skill, the beauty of the landscape of Asti and the quality of the wines were outstanding. Even tasting fresh Moscato juice (now chilled to one degree centigrade was an aromatic treat.

Fresh Moscato juice, Asti
Fresh Moscato juice, Asti

Visiting the Consorzio d’Asti (the growers’ association) gave us a fascinating couple of hours with two great experts: the head of the scientific service, Guido Bezzo, and the consorzio’s agronomist, Daniele Eberle. I would need several thousand words to capture that conversation. (Oh yes, you will need to buy the book I am currently researching, The Wines of Piemonte, to benefit from their collective wisdom.)

Wines of the day

Moscato d’Asti D.O.C.G. Canelli “SiFaSol”, Scagliola, 2020, 5.5% – this is a fantastic example of Moscato d’Asti from Canelli which is on course to become Canelli DOCG in its own right. It shows powerful and complex acacia flower, sage and grape flavours, with well-balanced sweetness and acidity, It is difficult to imagine that it really is about 145 g/L of residual sugar but that is because of the high acidity (more than 6 g/L total acidity) even in over-ripened grapes.

Bric Prima Bolla, Asti NV Brut, Matteo Soria, 12% – so we all know that tank method wines are not aged on the lees for an extended period? Except that some are. This wine is fermented to near dry in a tank, is made of multiple vintages (50% this year and 50% preceding years reducing by half for each year available) and is aged on the fine lees for nine months. A very savoury nose with peach, mango and sage flavours emerging and a touch of final bitterness, in a good way. A remarkable wine that pushes the boundaries of what we think of as Asti!

Suri - steep sloped vineyard - in Asti DOCG
Suri – steep-sloped vineyard – in Asti DOCG

If that was the first day in Asti, here’s to the next few days!

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