Champagne Asti – sparkling wine, which uses grapes white Muscat. It is grown only in the Italian Piedmont, where the variety is one of the oldest. The advantage of Asti in a relatively low price when compared with a similar drink – French champagne. A pleasant taste of sparkling wine shimmers with hints of fruit and honey, has a pronounced sweet taste.
The History Of The Asti
The beginning of the legend
History of the variety White Muscat dates back several centuries, in the 16th century when it was introduced in Piedmont from the Mediterranean, Eastern region. Invented this sparkling wine Carlo Gancia almost half a century ago – in 1865. He was the owner of his own company for the production of wine, where he used a French technology for the production of champagne. First, he used red grapes, later finding a perfect balance in the white Muscat. The resulting wine was named “Muscat champagne”. Gancia has patented his innovation, thus becoming the official founder of Asti.
With the proliferation of technology, Carlo Gancia other winemakers began to use his recipe, trying to improve it. The main competitors of the pioneer has become a factory for the production of wine and cigars Martini and Rossi, who was in the city of Montechiaro d’asti. A century later, the technology of production of Asti has received noticeable improvement. Federico Martinotti issued a patent for a method of production of sparkling wines, and after him Alfred Maron was able to improve the filtration under pressure.
These events did taste of champagne from Piedmont better yet, export has expanded and its volume increased. Proof of its quality – badge wine “DOCG” confirming the origin of Asti. This honorary award requires Italian winemakers to comply with all regulatory provisions for the production of champagne.
Italian champagne produced only from grapes of the white Muscat, which grows in the 3 provinces of Asti, Cuneo and Alessandria. There is the norm, even for grapes – not less than 10 tons per hectare. The harvest begins in September, towards the end of the first decade. This feature stems from the fact that the accumulation of important aromatic substances occurs in the last 2-3 weeks before final maturation. The maximum concentration of these substances is achieved by the beginning of September. Grapes harvested by hand to avoid damaging the surface of the berries.
That the grapes do not lose their properties after harvest it is transported for extraction, where in large tanks turns into a must. After it is filtered, after which it requires additional purification from impurities. For this purpose, the method of soft pressing, and then the purified liquid is cooled down to 2-5 degrees Celsius. This is necessary to prevent premature fermentation.
Before adding the yeast, the wort is heated to room temperature. After reaching an alcohol concentration level of 5.5% fermentation begins. The secondary fermentation takes place in closed autoclaves, where it is under high pressure. This allows carbon dioxide gas to condense and dissolve in the wort. That is what leads to bubbles – this method is called Martinotti in honor of the Creator.
When the fermentation is nearing completion – the alcohol level reaches 8%, sugar – up to 4%, the wine is cooled. Then to cleanse yeast from the champagne filters. The bottling should be done in a sterile environment where there are no germs.
Tasting the characteristics of the popular brands of Asti
Asti champagne is of several types, which differ in taste and manufacturing technology. Before choosing should carefully examine the tasting characteristics of a variety, buying blindly may disappoint even in this amazing beverage.
Important: any Asti champagne has a pronounced sweet taste and fruity notes. Choose it to fans of sweet and sour wines are not worth it.
The most popular type of Italian champagne is produced in early 1960-ies. It is noteworthy that this wine was especially appreciated by the European nobility. On the labels of bottles were often depicted symbols of the Royal courts – this tradition has survived to the present day.
Martini Asti has a sweet taste, has a bouquet of Apple, peach and notes of honey, smell of grapes with a splash of orange. Served with cheese, fruit or dessert.
The main competitor of the previous species, the cost of which is below. His production deals with the old company, founded in 1757. Cinzano Asti will appeal to foodies, because of its intense aroma dominated by hints of acacia, peach, sage and even vanilla. Its mild sweet flavor goes well with sponge cake, biscuits or dessert.
The best drink of the varieties of Asti, he has many awards and has been recognized by professionals. This is a sweet champagne has a special flavor that combines peach, pear and pineapple. The last component gives an amazing sourness that accentuates the sweetness of the wine. This makes it similar in taste with Brut. Its aroma reveals the freshness of the grapes, vine and honey. It is served with desserts, it goes well with ice cream, fruit cakes and sherbets.
This rose wine produces a large concern, more recently, the former family business. Its taste is fresh fruit and flowers, for the full disclosure of which wine is served chilled to 7 degrees Celsius. The finishing touch is the supply of drink in a glass of “Champagne”.
Delicate flavor, fruity notes and fresh summer fragrance, this wine will satisfy even those who seldom drink alcohol. It is served with light desserts and fruit platters. It is curious that its name translates from Italian as “song”, perfectly conveying his gentle and sparkling taste, a bit like Prosecco.
Sparkling wine or champagne: understand the classification
Strictly speaking, Asti is not champagne – the name have the right to wear only French wine. There are some precise differences between wines from the champagne region and Piedmont:
- Grape variety: Asti is made from the white Muscat grapes and champagne from Chardonnay or Mino Noir.
- Production technology of French wine is the secondary fermentation inside the bottle. The Italian method involves a similar process in closed pressure autoclaves.
- Champagne belongs to the category of dry wines, its flavor has a pronounced sour taste. Asti is characterized by a sweet taste.
- Real champagne is not easy to find, Italian drink accessible. The French drink 3-5 times more expensive.
How to distinguish a fake
Choosing wine can’t be rushed and enjoy at attractive label. Unscrupulous manufacturers often try to pass for Italian wine forgery. The main symptom of deception – the name of the drink written in Russian letters, for example only a Latin version. Also, the country of origin should be Italy, among other places, Asti is not made. By glass fakes often accompany the quality mark DOCG. The original bottles should be the emblem of the Consortium.
Note: before buying you need to make sure of Asti in the region of production is not one of the above provinces or Piedmont, it is a fake.
How to properly serve
Italian sparkling wine has a bright taste the first 2-3 years, after losing its freshness and fruity tones. Before serving, Asti should be cooled to 6-8 degrees Celsius, a warm drink is not so versatile. Glass, you can choose classic or type of flute.
Asti goes well with desserts, pastries and white chocolate. Also perfect to him cheese, strawberry with cream and ice cream. Due to the high sugar levels with meat dishes to serve this drink is inappropriate.
The average cost of sparkling
The usual cost of Asti in Moscow liquor stores is around 1000-1500 rubles per bottle. The price depends on the variety and the date of issue of the drink.
Terms and conditions storage
Manufacturers often write on the label that the shelf life of champagne is unlimited. This is wrong, sparkling wines are not stored for more than 25 years, specifically Asti must be stored not more than 3 years. After the champagne loses its special taste and aroma. Open the wine store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, leave at room temperature is impossible. Shelf life of champagne also depends on the strength and sugar levels.
Asti champagne is considered to be an exquisite drink exceptional taste qualities which attract buyers for many decades. Varieties differ in tasting characteristics, but each of them goes well with desserts. Before buying Italian beverage you should carefully check the label on originality.
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