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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Unfortunately there is no information about Asti DOCG available.

Description to Asti DOCG

The province of Asti with the capital of the same name in the Italian region of Piedmont covers the entire southern Monferrato hill area with 1,500 km². There are many DOC/DOCG areas here. These include Albugnano, Barbera d'Asti, Calosso, Dolcetto d'Asti, Freisa d'Asti, Grignolino d'Asti, Langhe, Loazzolo, Malvasia di Casorzo d'Asti, Monferrato and Terre Alfieri. For the most part, however, simple wines are produced. However, the sparkling wines produced from the Moscato Bianco (Muscat Blanc), also known as Moscato d'Asti or Moscato di Canelli, which was mentioned as early as 1203, are particularly famous. It thrives particularly well in the Langhe mountains around the municipality of Canelli, the centre of the sparkling wine industry. Sparkling wines were already produced here in the Middle Ages.

Asti - Stadt Asti auf Hügel und Moscati d’Asti

DOCG regulations

In the 17th century, when Piedmont was still part of the Duchy of Savoy, Giovanni Battista Croce, the court jeweller to the Dukes of Savoy, improved the cultivation and cellar techniques of his dominion. In 1870, Carlo Gancia, known as the "father of Italian sparkling wine", introduced the méthode champenoise and founded the famous white sparkling wine. The two wine types Moscato d'Asti and Asti Spumante (also Asti for short) were the first Italian sparkling wines to receive DOCG classification in 1994. Both were initially produced according to the Metodo italiano (Méthode charmat, tank fermentation), and later the Metodo tradizionale (bottle fermentation) variant was added for Asti Spumante.

The Asti DOCG zone comprises a total of 52 municipalities, mainly in the province of Asti (28 municipalities), but also extends into the provinces of Alessandria (9) and Cueno (15). The vineyards cover a total of over 9,000 hectares of vines. There are three subzones: Canelli with municipalities in the two provinces of Asti and Cuneo, Santa Vittoria d'Alba with the municipality of the same name (Cuneo), and Strevi with municipalities in the province of Alessandria. In the case of Moscato d'Asti, these may additionally state their name on the label. Likewise, the term Vigna (exposed, hilly sites) may be used for Moscato d'Asti wines. The regulations vary in detail. They consist in the actual or potential alcohol content (4.5 to 6.5% or 11% for Moscato d'Asti versus 7 to 9.5% or 12% for Asti Spumante) as well as in the carbon dioxide pressure with 1 bar only slightly sparkling for Moscato d'Asti versus 4 bar for Asti Spumante.

Asti Spumante

Until 2016, there was only a sweet version. Due to a huge drop in exports of over 30%, a dry Asti was also introduced from the 2017 vintage in secco, demi-sec and extra-secco versions. There are the wine types produced with tank fermentation as well as with bottle fermentation (with an addition on the label: Metodo Classico or Metodo Tradizionale). Among the best producers are Cascina Fonda, Ceretto, Cinzano, Contratto, Gancia, Fontanafredda, Martini & Rossi and Riccadonna. With around 80 million bottles a year, it is the world's top sparkling wine producer after Champagne and Cava.

Moscato d'Asti

According to its characteristics, a sweet, slightly sparkling wine; actually not even a frizzante, which should in no way be understood as a derogatory judgement of quality. There is also a variant Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest). This wine, which is particularly popular in Italy, is milder, fruitier and far less sparkling than the Asti Spumante. The bottles are usually sealed with normal corks because of the low pressure and also bear a vintage indication. About four million bottles are produced annually. Well-known producers are Bera Walter, Cascina Fonda, Carbonere, Ceretto, Dogliotti-Caudrina, Gatti, La Spinetta, Marcarini, Saracco, Traversa and Vignaioli di Santo Stefano.

Mixed drinks

In order to improve its image, the Asti Spumante and Moscati d'Asti consortium decided in mid-2021 to break new ground in product positioning and focus on mixed drinks and cocktails. The two aromatic wines are increasingly presented in a more modern and dynamic way in the bar scene. The director of the consortium Giacomo Pondini formulated the goal as follows: "We want to give our sparkling wine, which was born in the middle of the 19th century, a new face". A "Cocktail of the Summer 2021" called "Asti Signature" was created by bartender Giorgio Facchinetti, mixed with Asti Spumante, pink grapefruit, basil and Sichuan pepper.

Asti: by Henri Bergius - Flickr: Villages and wineyards, CC BY-SA 2.0, link
Bottle: by Nigab Pressbilder - Asti Cinzano on flickr, CC BY 2.0, link

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