If you think you know the fizzy wine from Asti, then think again. The wine growing area in central Piemonte is a lot more diverse and interesting than a glass of white served up at office cocktail parties. The wine area is split in two, Basso Monferrato and Alto Ferrato.
Asti Spumante wine
The upper area can be said to produce more robust wine while the lower area more gentle wine, but discover the zone for yourself. The lower area gives us the brands Barbera and Grignolino while the upper the Moscato d'Asti.
Rather confusingly Basso Monferrato is actually higher up than Alto Monferrato. By this we mean in terms of altitude and not geographical location. The more southerly Basso Monferrato rests at 700 meters above sea level, while the northern areas of Alto Monferrato reaches around 350 meters above sea level. In any case, both zones are perfect for producing luscious wines with the 'Basso' producing your Barbera's and Grignolino's, while the 'Alto' the fizzy Asti's.
The best time for wine fans to explore the zone is during the 'Festa del Vino Douja d'Or' which is held annually in Asti from the second Friday to the third Sunday of September. The event also coincides with the 'Palio of Asti'.
As for the wine itself, Asti Spumante is made from the moscato grape whose origins can be clearly dated to at least the 13th century although local legend states that the vine was planted along with the first stone of the city.
The modern fizzy drink we know so well was perfected by Giovan Battista Croce of Milan who worked for the Duke of Savoy. The former owned a vineyard between Montevecchio and Candia where he devised the techniques for producing a wine which was sweet, had a beautiful aroma and contained a low amount of alcohol. This all took place around the year 1606.
If you think you know the fizzy wine from Asti, then think again.
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