What’s cool and groovy about Moscato d’Asti

Moscato d'asti family landscape

The more I’ve learned about Moscato d’Asti, the more I’ve realized how little people actually know about the appellation, the wines, and the people who grow and make them.

Tax day (April 15) has come and gone and so has Vinitaly (last week) for that matter. And so now it’s time for me to start working on the talk I will be giving to some of Houston’s top food and wine professionals on Wednesday May 15 at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston where we will be tasting with (and I will be presenting) some of the leading producers of Moscato d’Asti.

The more I’ve learned about Moscato d’Asti, the more I’ve realized how little people actually know about the appellation, the wines, and the people who grow and make them.
Even some of the best sommeliers in the U.S. tend to write off Moscato d’Asti as an “uninteresting” or “monochromatic” wine. And some even hold to the now long-debunked belief that Moscato d’Asti is only produced as a “large-volume,” “mass-scale” wine intended to be sold in U.S. supermarkets and big box stores.

Here are just a few of the talking points I intend to cover in my talk on May 15. I know that they will surprise many of my fellow Houstonian wine lovers and wine professionals.
The number one thing that people don’t realize about Moscato d’Asti DOCG is that it is all grown — and I mean all of it — by family growers. The berries used for these wines are not machine-harvested valley-floor fruit. In fact, they are culled from a large patchwork of tiny family-run and managed farms. If you’re drinking Moscato d’Asti, you are drinking wine grown by a family — not by big food.

All of the fruit used in the production of Moscato d’Asti is hillside grown fruit. None of it is grown on the valley floor and nearly all of it has to be grown and harvested exclusively by hand. Moscato d’Asti wouldn’t have the freshness it does if the fruit didn’t get the “family,” “hillside” treatment. This is a key element of Moscato d’Asti unique position in the wine trade.

Lastly but surely not least, a lot of people will be surprised to learn that Moscato d’Asti is actually an “ancestral method” wine. I know you’re dying to know what that means exactly. But you’ll just have to tune in for my next post!

Thanks for being here. Stay tuned.

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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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