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If you’re looking for an experience that takes you to the heart of the authentic spirit of an Italian winemaking region, you simply must visit the birthplace of Asti and Moscato d’Asti.
Situated in Piedmont, in the northwest of Italy, only a few kilometers from the foothills of the Alps, the shores of the Mediterranean and the flatlands of the Po valley, made fertile by Italy’s most important river, the areas of Asti and Moscato d’Asti have for centuries been the home of the Moscato Bianco varietal. This is an ancient vine found in many parts of the world, but which shows a particular predilection for the climate and soil of Piedmont, yielding aromatic grapes that express rare and unique scents and flavors that lie dormant when the varietal is grown in other places.
The Moscato Bianco varietal, whose golden bunches are the only ones destined to become Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti, thrives on about 10 thousand hectares of vineyards stretched atop rolling hills in the provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo.
The origins of the local soil are stratified sediments of a primordial ocean basin, giving this area a special geological profile and resulting in a variegated environment that man’s hand has shaped without infringing on its beauty.
A land of ancient hamlets and towns, dotted with castles and period residences, where cellars and tunnels dug into the earth are still in use, aging wines and spumante of excellent quality, appreciated worldwide. After all, it was here that, over a hundred and fifty years ago, the first Italian sparkling wine was born: an Asti Spumante, naturally.
Among the marquee attractions in the land of Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti, which in 2014 was the first of Italy’s premier winemaking regions to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the 50th Italian site, there are Canelli’s Cantine Storiche, in the province of Asti, amazing underground cathedrals of wine, winding for kilometers under the city.
Another must-see are the breathtaking panoramas of the hills, geometrically blanketed by the rows of grapevines, and the medieval towers and strongholds that are scattered throughout the countryside, as well as the natural splendors waiting to be discovered by excursionists.
Last but not by any means least, there is the famously delectable cuisine of the area, which pairs artisanal cold cuts and cheeses and Asti Spumante or Moscato d’Asti, as well as healthy, farm-fresh meat and vegetables and classic Piedmont dishes like vitello tonnato, cold slices of roast veal in a creamy tuna sauce; agnolotti with “plin”, a traditional filled pasts in the shape of a classic candy, or old-time cakes like hazelnut torte and homemade pudding, made with eggs and cocoa.
Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti are therefore the ideal ambassadors for a land that boasts so many excellences and that fully meets the demands of eco-tourism: green, sustainable, up to date and mindful.