It is hard to believe that it is February already. They say the years go faster as you get older, but dang.. I didn’t think I was this old! It seems like yesterday that I got off the NY Waterway and enjoyed walking to Il Gattopardo restaurant on a perfect fall day. Yes, I said Fall!  In all honesty, it is a bit upsetting that it took me this long to sit down and write this article about Milano Wine Week, but am happy that I can finally share with you the wonderful wines of Milan. 

The week-long experience had more than 300 events including tastings in multiple cities at the same time. I unfortunately could only attend one day, but I heard I had missed a lot! If you are interested in seeing all the events and signing up for future events please see their website

From the press release:

It will be the first wine event in history to connect together 12 of the world’s metropolises: the fourth edition of Milano Wine Week will take place in Milan, internationally recognized as Italy’s Capital of Excellence, from October 2nd to October 10th, and will involve key wine professionals in 11 cities in 7 countries – the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Hong Kong and Japan – connected via live-stream with the event’s headquarters in Palazzo Bovara, Milan.

Protecting the Production and Region

Growing up, I remember every New Year’s Eve, the family celebrated at our house and as the clock struck 12, Asti Spumante was popped. I think back to those days and I can’t don’t want to remember drinking those wines.  As I progressed in my wine game, I held a prejudice against Spumante because the overwhelming sweetness was all that I could remember. They were massed produced and low quality and I wasn’t aware there were different options available – quality options. 

It’s no wonder all I can remember from my young Asti days was the sweetness, since back then Asti was considered a lower class sparkling wine. Luckily, times change and I have learned a bit more about the wines and where/how they are produced. With stricter laws to regulate higher quality wines the region achieved DOP status in 1967 and DOCG in 1993. 

The Consorzio dell’Asti DOCG was founded in December 1932 to oversee the production of 4,000 companies, 9900 hectares of vines and over 80 million bottles. Together there are 50 spumante producers, 778 viticultural estates, 153 estate wineries, 17 must producers and 15 cooperative wineries. The Asti hills were the first vineyard landscape to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.  

Exploring the Grape

The consorzio promotes both the  Asti DOCG and Moscato d’Asti DOCG and one of its roles is to coordinate and promote the region through various events, such as Milano Week. Similarly, both wines are produced using the Moscato bianco (Muscat blanc á petits grain) grape and uses the charmat method, like Prosecco. Since both wines are made with the Moscato bianco grape they both are aromatic, sweet, floral and fresh wines. However, this is where the similarities end.

Where Asti Spumante’s internal pressure typically reaches 4-5 bars and must be greater than 3.5, Moscato d’Asti can not exceed 2.5 bars. Asti Spumante is considered a complete sparkling since it is fermented fully, while Moscato d’Asti’s fermentation is stopped leading to a higher sugar concentration which is also evident by the alcohol content. Moscato d’ Asti alcohol ranges between 5% and 6%, while Asti Spumante must be between 7% and 9%. The corks are also different. Asti Spumante uses the “champagne” mushroom cork and Moscato uses the traditional straight cork.

Wines to Look For

Matteo Soria Asti DOCG – Prima Bolla Brut
Light yellow color. Aromas of white flowers, sage and stone fruit. Medium acidity, body and alcohol.  On the palate, peach, lightly toasted bread, balsamic. Medium finish. Dry. 11g RS

Aszienda Agricola Terrabianca – Moscato d’ Asti
Straw yellow color. On the nose a hint of earthiness paired with wisteria and stone fruit. High acidity, low alcohol, light body. On the palate stone fruit and white flowers. Sweet but balanced. 90 g RS

~Slàinte! 

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