Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2009
Saracco is located in the small village of Castiglione Tinella, in Asti, in the heart of the Langhe, in Piedmont, Italy The Langhe is known as the land of great Nebbiolo wines like Barolo and Barbaresco but it is also home to the Muscat Bianco Canelli grape that produces Moscato d’Asti. Upon graduating enology school, Paolo Saracco told his father that he wanted to stop selling their grapes as he had been doing, and produce a namesake Moscato wine. His father was very reluctant but eventually realized that his son was on to something. Paolo created the quality Moscato category in the US market, was named the “Maestro of Moscato” by wine writer Antonio Galloni in 2011 and has gone on to receive the highest and most consistent over 90 point scores from the top wine publications for the past 10 vintages.
Saracco Moscato is always the first wine of the vintage to arrive into the market, released in late November of the same year. It is harvested in late August, vinified in stainless and is ready for bottling a few months later. He bottles weekly so the consumer is always getting the freshest wine. While other producers in the area make Moscato, they are primarily red wine focused and Moscato is a very small segment of their overall production. Paolo is 100% dedicated to making Moscato and has earned the following of consumers world- wide, including hip hop celebrities who have rapped about Saracco Moscato in their songs. And, if you can hold on to a bottle for your cellar, it ages beautifully – contrary to common beliefs.
Recognized as the source of the best Barbera in all of Italy, Asti is a province (as well as major city) in Piedmont, consisting of a gentle, rolling landscape with vineyards, farmland and forests alternating throughout.
Barbera d’Asti can be made in an array of styles from relatively straightforward, fruity and ready for consumption early, to the more concentrated, oak aged version with an ability to cellar impressively for 10-15 years and beyond. Some of the very best sites for Barbera in Asti are concentrated in the subzone of Nizza Monferrato. Other red varieties grown here include Freisa, Grignolino and Dolcetto, which can be bottled varietally or blended into Barbera.
Historically consumers commonly associated the Asti region with Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti, both playful, aromatic, sparkling wines made from the Muscat grape. Asti Spumante is less sweet, fully fizzy and more alcoholic (yet still clocking in at only around 9% alcohol) while Moscato d’Asti is sweeter, gently sparkling (“frizzante”) and closer to 5 or 6% alcohol. Each is produced in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh and fruity flavors of the grape, often including peach, apricot, lychee and rose petal. Asti is also the spot for the pink-hued Brachetto d'Acqui, a slightly sparkling wine ready to charm with its raspberry and rose flavors and aromas.
While Muscat comes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and even fortified, it's safe to say it is always alluringly aromatic and delightful. The two most important versions are the noble, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, making wines of considerable quality and Muscat of Alexandria, thought to be a progeny of the former. Somm Secret—Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing Muscat.