By Paul Caputo

Asti DOCG is known throughout the wine world for its light, low alcohol sparkling and semi sparkling white wines made from the Moscato Bianco grape. Cultivated in Piedmont, around the town of Asti, these wines have found supporters all over the world and remain a cultural reference point amongst domestic consumers.

A great deal of Asti’s early reputation was built on the party aspect of the wine; its low alcohol, residual sugar and delicate fizz made Asti Spumante perfect accompaniments to the rhythms of Italy’s social calendar. The inoffensive sweetness of Asti’s white wines helped them find export markets all over the world and in 1993 the wine was officially granted DOCG status.

As tends to happen, supply increased to meet demand and Piedmont was suddenly awash with large quantities of inexpensive, cheap sweet wine. Much of it was uninteresting and facilitated a new and undesirably reputation as Nasty Asti. Like many of Italy’s value conscious white wines, it has served its time in the doldrums.