Definition - What does Moscato d'Asti mean?
Moscato d'Asti is a frizzante (semi-sparkling) wine with a DOCG designation, from the region of Piedmont in northwest Italy. It is made from Moscato bianco grapes which make a low alcohol wine which can range in styles from dry to semi-sweet and dessert. By law, the wine can only have a maximum of 5.5% alcohol. This is obtained by halting the fermentation by chilling the wine to almost freezing temperatures.
WineFrog explains Moscato d'Asti
Moscato d'Asti is made in the town of Montferrat in the province of Asti. It is only made in small batches and gets its name from the "musk" smell from the Moscato bianco grapes.
Traditionally, it was only a wine which winemakers made for themselves as a light-alcoholic drink enjoyed at lunchtime so the workers would not get drunk and tire out. Later in the day, it was served as a digestif after multi-course meals.
The reason it is a semi-sparkling or frizzante wine is because the bubbles are not persistent like Champagne. Carbon dioxide is captured in the wine during fermentation closed in steel tanks. Once the wine reaches around 5% alcohol, the wine is rapidly chilled to stop the fermentation. The wine is kept fresh until bottling when it is filtered to remove any yeast cells to prevent a second fermentation in the bottle. However, some carbonation remains.
Pair semi-sweet Moscato d'Asti with your favorite Chinese fare, whether with meat or vegetarian. Dry and semi-sweet versions go well with appetizers and fish. Try sweeter styles with blue cheeses.
Traditionally it is served with an orange-almond cookie called Cantucci (similar to biscotti) and dipped in the wine.