Asti DOCG: different versions and their pairings at the table

Different versions and their pairings at the table of Asti DOCG

by Chiara Giorleo

Due to a few typical misrepresentations in the wine sector, a world that is easily influenced by the latest fashions and trends, the sweet Spumantes are not always appreciated as much as the dry versions.  This happens despite the fact that the best labels are both delicious and intriguing and can offer a variety of amazing wine&food pairings.

Our patriotic Asti DOCG (for more details, click here) in both of its versions:  Spumante and Moscato d’Asti – the first has the typical character of a sparkling wine, the second is semi-sparkling and tends to be sweeter and lighter – are the best exemplars.  The more classic versions are perfect companions to leavened desserts which grace (Italian) tables especially during the most important holidays such as panettone at Christmas and Colomba at Easter. The pairings work particularly thanks to the combination of the buttery flavors, the typical notes of leavening and the aromas of candied citrus fruits with the fruity fragrance, the notes of dried herbs and fresh white flowers of the Moscatos.

Limiting to this pairing, though, even if popular and well-established, would be a shame and would preclude the discovery of other pairings that are just as valid.

First of all, it must be remembered that both versions are produced with Muscat grapes defined more by the appeal of their aromas than by their structure. Dishes that are not excessively elaborate, lightly spiced, or with a light sweet touch are the most suitable to these wines that are celebrated for their lively fragrances and not intended to be aged: “the fresher the better”.

Furthermore, it is important to distinguish between the two versions above all with respect to the different concentrations of sugar.

The Spumante has a higher concentration of CO2 and therefore a higher capacity to clean our mouth.  However, first and foremost there are different concentrations of sugars as is typical of sparkling wines: lower levels of sugar mark drier or semi-dry versions and so up to the sweet versions.
Therefore, the drier Extra Brut or Brut versions match perfectly with medium-structured and medium-fat dishes: savory pies, lake fish, vegetarian dishes, soups, cereal or white-meat-based dishes that are not very elaborate, along with recipes that call for the use of the Asti DOCG wine itself. Moreover, they can be paired with sushi or dishes from the Middle East: from falafel to finger foods with a lamb.

The spectrum changes and is amplified with the sweet versions of the Asti Spumante and with the always sweet Moscato d’Asti. Beyond the leavened goods previously mentioned that exalt the unique fragrance of the Asti DOCG, options span from cooked or caramelized fruit, such as cooked pears and apples garnished with light sauces, to puddings or desserts with a slightly higher fat component such as the cakes with dried fruit and nuts or cheesecakes thanks to the cleaning ability of the bubbles themselves. Yet, the fragrances and the roundness of this wine work perfectly even with savory dishes such as bread with butter and anchovies, typical spicy Indian recipes, especially those with a vegetable base, and certain fresh or semi-aged cheeses.

And given the success of pizza on a global scale, a window should be opened onto this beloved dish which, despite continual experimentation and evolution, has not lost its classic appeal.  Both the driest versions of the aforementioned Asti Spumante and the sweeter versions compete to make the perfect pairing. Best pairings are those with more modern recipes which often contain sweetish creams such as cream of zucchini or potatoes (sweet or purple); or, yet, with the gourmet versions, for instance, with raw prawns or white pizzas with delicate and lightly peppered cured meats.

Pizzas with a sweeter touch are also popular: with jams, figs or sweetish creams, think also of a pizza with cheese, walnuts and honey. Asti Spumante with a medium concentration of sugar or, based on the richness of the composition, the versions with higher levels of sugars along with Moscato d’Asti, match perfectly to them.

Seeing is believing.


ASTI DOCG & Pizza Pairing

ASTI DOCG & Pizza Pairing

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