My new favorite aperitif: Moscato d’Asti

I’ve recently had quite the distinct pleasure of imbibing a brand new type of wine for me called Moscato d’Asti.  That name actually designates a particular area of Italy, any what’s special about all the wines from the area can be described as follows: imagine combining the heavenly sweetness of dessert wine with the light, palette-cleansing effervescence of champagne and you have Moscato.

I can hear you saying to yourself now that all that flowery, ostentatious verbiage above was entirely unnecessary.  Well, you’re right.  Moscato d’Asti is really just a sweet sparkling wine, or sparkling dessert wine, but let’s not be so hasty!  The wine comes in two varieties, red and white, and both are meant to be served chilled.  I’ve now had them with dessert at Gramercy Tavern and Per Se, but chez moi I enjoy them as pre-dinner aperitifs because they aren’t overpowering with sweetness at all: it’s just enough to get your tongue all excited and giddy.

The red variety that I can highly recommend is called Bigaro by Elio Perrone.  When the wine touches your tongue, it’s as if you’ve been transported to a field of a thousand fresh roses, strawberries, and other such delicious things.  Here’s a picture of it from my dessert course at Gramercy Tavern:

The white variety that blew my mind only a few nights after Gramercy Tavern was at Per Se, and this one was called Sourgal, also by Elio Perrone (how does this man do it!?).  The Sourgal simultaneously melted through my palette and somehow evaporated without a trace, leaving behind indulgent hints of peach, vanilla, white chocolate, and perhaps even some dandelions.  Here’s a shot of it at Per Se:

These two bottles from Elio Perrone cost around $20 each, so not too bad.  You can also get bottles of Moscato d’Asti for much cheaper, around $10, and because of the sweetness, the quality loss isn’t significant at all.  Noticeable, maybe, but still enjoyable.  So next time you go for the champagne with guests, consider giving Moscato a try, I promise you won’t regret it.

Mark posted this on September 4, 2008 and is filed under Musings.

2 responses to “My new favorite aperitif: Moscato d’Asti” so far, care to add your two cents?

  1. the word is palate, not palette.

  2. Thanks, I was never sure which one it was.

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