When thinking of Italian wine, Amarone, Barolo and Chianti may be what most readily springs to mind, but Richard Baudains reveals a treasure trove of original yet overlooked wines just waiting to be discovered. See his pick of 10 wines from the most exciting Italian terroirs here...
Unchartered Italy: Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont
2. Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont
Moscato d’Asti ought to be up there with the Italian classics. It is made from a great variety and it has history, sense of place and a style which is unique to Italy. It’s also delicious. That it does not enjoy the prestige it deserves is perhaps attributable to two misconceptions. The first is confusion with cheap, watery, industrially made Asti Spumante. Moscato d’Asti is everything Asti Spumante is not. It is made from highly selected grapes by specialist growers at family-owned wineries; and in contrast to the gassy, bland Spumante, Moscato is all about fruit and aroma, not bubbles. The second issue is when to drink it. It is unequivocally sweet, but it does not really show its best with puddings. Moscato’s light, grapey freshness and floral aromas are wasted on rich or creamy desserts. It’s perfect next to green figs or strawberries and it goes wonderfully well with fresh goats’ cheeses. Best of all, savour it by itself in a moment of pure mid-afternoon hedonism.
Cà d’Gal, Vigna Vecchia 2010
Restrained mousse. Complex, refined and personal nose with aromas of herb garden, apple and gooseberry, and an intriguing note of cedar. Rich, concentrated impact on the palate with great follow through, lovely creamy texture and long, grapey finish. 18.5pts/20
Price: £15.50 (2008) Slurp, Swig
Ample white mousse and fine perlage, aromas of pears, lemon peel and spring flowers. Apricot, pineapple and citrus palate with crisp acidity underlying the sweetness. Deliciously long, juicy finish. 18pts/20
Price: £11.90–£12.50 Astrum, Butler’s Wine Cellar, WoodWinters
Other recommended producers:
Bava, Bera, Cascina Fonda, Michele Chiarlo, La Morandina, Elio Perrone, La Spinetta, Aldo Vajra