It’s all about the grape

And there is perhaps no other sparkling wine appellation where the hand of the winemaker is so light. In many ways, Moscato d'Asti growers and producers are simply trying to stay out of the grape's way as the vinification process is carried out.

In many ways, Moscato d’Asti growers and producers are simply trying to stay out of the grape ‘s way as the vinification process is carried out.

In my last post for the Moscato d’Asti blog, I shared the five bullet points that I used in the seminar and guided tasting that I led together with five top Moscato d’Asti producers here in Houston. For roughly 60 Houston-based wine professionals, I made my case that as surprising as it may be to some, Moscato d’Asti is actually one of the world’s most soulful wines.
When it came time for the last of the five producers to present his winery and share his tasting notes for the wines, he managed to sum up my five bullet points brilliantly — in one simple, beautiful observation.

“When it comes to Moscato d’Asti DOCG,” he said, “it’s all about grape.”

I so wish I could take credit for that one! And it’s so true: Moscato d’Asti is all about preserving the primary aromas and flavors of the grape as it is transformed into wine by the winemaker. And there is perhaps no other sparkling wine appellation where the hand of the winemaker is so light.
In many ways, Moscato d’Asti growers and producers are simply trying to stay out of the grape’s way as the vinification process is carried out.

And that’s why, as I tried to convey to the tasters in Houston, Moscato d’Asti is arguably the sparkling wine world’s most terroir-driven wine. A lot of the wine and restaurant professionals in attendance were really blown away by how different the five wines were in their aroma and flavor profiles. For nearly all of them, it was the first time they had tasted a flight of different wines from different producers side-by-side. It’s such a great example of expression of place because viticulture is so uniform across the appellation and the vinification process is nearly identical for all the growers and producers.
And after all, as we noted in our tasting, the only thing that goes into Moscato d’Asti is the grape and a little bit of yeast. You can’t say that about nearly any other sparkling wine.

It’s all about the grape.

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Jeremy Parzen
After obtaining his Ph.D. in Italian literature at U.C.L.A. in 1997, Jeremy Parzen moved to New York City where he shifted his focus to food and wine. By 1998, he was the chief wine writer for the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana. In 2005, he published his annotated translation of Maestro Martino's 15th century cookery book, The Art of Cooking (University of California Press). In 2007, he launched his blog DoBianchi.com (named after the Venetian expression for two glasses of white wine). Since that time, he has published countless articles on Italian food and wine, including bylines for publications like Decanter and Wine and Spirits, which named him a "Master of Place" in 2017. Known for his humanist perspective onto the world of Italian enogastronomy, he works as wine and restaurant industry consultant from his home office in Houston, where he and his wife Tracie (a native Texan) are raising their two daughters. A former rock musician and songwriter, Jeremy continues to compose and record music with and for his family. He was honored to be named an Italian Association of Wine Merchants ambassador in 2018 for his "profound scholarship in the humanities, his great knowledge of winemaking, and his excellence in communications."

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