Through Moscato’s Hills

As required by the Moscato d’Asti DOCG appellations regulations, all grapes for Moscato d’Asti must be grown on hillsides and in soil types that are typically found in those hills.

 

According to Google maps, if you were to set out by foot from the village of Strevi in Alessandria province (just to the east of Asti province) and head west toward Canelli (Asti province), and then on to Santa Vittoria d’Alba (in Cuneo province, just to the west of Asti province), you would travel roughly 38 miles down Strada Provinciale (Provincial Road) 592 — a straight shot through the heart of the Moscato d’Asti DOCG.

Those three villages are the three official “sub-zones” of the appellation. And they run on a nearly perfectly straight east-to-west axis (Strevi-Canelli-Santa Vittoria) in Moscato d’Asti’s spiritual home, Monferrato (or Monferrat in English). And those three village names may be added as a geographic designation to Moscato d’Asti DOCG.

Most agree that Moscato d’Asti as we know it today has been grown and vinified in Piedmont, in northwest Italy, since the second half of the 19th century. Although smaller sections of the DOCG lie in Alessandria province (to the east) and Cuneo province (west), Asti is the township and province most famously associated with the appellation. Canelli township, which lies in the smack dab center of Moscato d’Asti, is about a 30-minute drive due south from Asti proper.

Although sparkling-style Moscato is made in other parts of Italy and even in other parts of the world, Moscato d’Asti, made exclusively from Moscato Bianco grapes, from the appellation’s 52 townships (or communes) is without a doubt the grape variety’s most famous and celebrated expression.

Check out this cool map on the Moscato d’Asti growers website with the names of all 52 townships; of those 52, more than half are in Asti province, hence the close association between Piedmont-grown Moscato Bianco and Asti province.)

The vineyards stretch mostly across the foothills that lie to the south of Strada Provinciale 592. As required by the Moscato d’Asti DOCG appellations regulations, all grapes for Moscato d’Asti must be grown on hillsides and in soil types that are typically found in those hills.

Now that we know where Moscato d’Asti is, it’s time to shift our focus to what makes those hillsides so unique in terms of geology and exposure.

 

Thanks for being here and please 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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