Moscato d’Asti: Keep it fresh!

Ice Moscato

Thanksgiving’s behind us and Christmas and New Year’s Eve are right around the corner.

Across the USA, wine writers and food writers and even lifestyle writers are publishing and posting their holiday wine recommendations. And invariably, they recommend Moscato d’Asti DOCG. And why shouldn’t they? Moscato d’Asti DOCG is arguably one of the best wines to serve around the holidays.
It’s sweet and goes with a wide variety of foods, one of the few wines in the world that can pair with both savory and sweet dishes. And of course, during the holiday season, we consume more sweets.
It’s nearly always a value-driven wine. If you’re paying more than $30 for a bottle of Moscato d’Asti DOCG, you’re probably paying too high of a mark-up. But $30 and under is a good rule of thumb when it comes to Moscato d’Asti shopping. Most of my favorites land around $25 at my favorite wine shop here in Houston. But you can also find fantastic Moscato d’Asti for under $20.
And with Moscato d’Asti DOCG — I write with an emphasis on DOCG — you know exactly what you are getting. The Moscato d’Asti DOCG is one of the most rigorous appellations in Italy and the quality control, both in the growing of the grapes and vinification, is among the most stringent.

But here’s the thing that many wine writers forget to tell you: Make sure you keep it fresh when it comes to Moscato d’Asti.

Ideally, buy your wine from a fine wine shop where you know that the wine has been handled correctly. Moscato d’Asti is all about freshness and if the wine has been exposed to extreme temperature or otherwise mishandled, it can affect the aroma and flavor of the wine. Your independent wine shop, where wine nerds are employed, is always going to be your best bet to ensure that the wine was handled properly.
The other thing to be careful about is: Make sure you handle the wine correctly. Don’t leave the wine in a hot car, for example, because you can inadvertently “cook” the wine. Don’t store it in the sun or in a warm place in your home. The bottle may look handsome on the mantle above the fireplace, but that location is possibly the worst possible option for storage.

If you follow the two rules of thumb above, you’ll help to ensure that the fitness of the wine won’t be compromised.

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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 (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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