Moscato d’Asti, one of the world’s most soulful wines, yes!

Jeremy Parzen shows Moscato 'd'Asti flavour in Houston

One of the reasons why I wanted to be part of this blog was because I wanted a forum where I could share my feeling that Moscato d’Asti is actually one of Italy’s most soulful wines.

Here in Houston yesterday, I led a seminar and guided tasting of five wines from Moscato d’Asti with five top producers (who presented their wines) and roughly 60 Houston-based wine professionals. Most of the attendees were restaurant professionals or wine-focused restaurant professionals and/or sommeliers and wine directors.

As I did my introduction and presentation before the producers began to speak, you could see some of the surprised reaction among the attendees. My goal was to share with them my experiences with Moscato d’Asti and the people who grow and vinify it.

There’s no way around it: Many American wine professionals perceive Moscato d’Asti solely as a mass-produced, easy-drinking wine with little substance or character. There’s no sense in assigning blame for that.

But one of the reasons why I wanted to be part of this blog was because I wanted a forum where I could share my feeling that Moscato d’Asti is actually one of Italy’s most soulful wines.

Here are the bullet points I used for my talk.

1) ALL of Moscato d’Asti is family grown. Even the largest producers source their grapes from legacy families who have been farming in the Moscato d’Asti Docg for generations.

2) ALL of Moscato d’Asti is made from hillside-grown fruit. There is no “valley floor” in Moscato d’Asti where commercial growers can farm and harvest using machines. The overall quality of the viticulture there is very, very high.

3) ALL of Moscato d’Asti is made using a variation on the “ancestral wine method,” in other words, the first and second fermentations are carried out in the same sealed tank. This means the wine is vinified in “reduction,” without the presence of oxygen. This is part of the reason the fruit aromas and flavors are SO fresh and so rich.

4) ALL of Moscato d’Asti is made using natural grape sugar. Nature doesn’t refine sugar. Only humankind does. Refined sugar doesn’t exist in nature. Refined sugar is added to nearly every other category of sparkling wine but not to Moscato d’Asti. It’s made using only (!!!) the grape’s natural sugar.

5) Because of all the above, Moscato d’Asti is one of Italy’s most terroir-driven wines. Place matters immensely for these wines. And it was evident in our tasting that the five wines, although easily identifiable as Moscato d’Asti, were extremely different among each other.

But the best part of the event was when one of the producers said…

Stay tuned for more!

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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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