Q:

What is the difference between asti and asti spumante?

A:

Asti and Asti spumante are two terms for the same sparkling wine made from Moscato grapes. Although some makers call their wine Asti spumante, "spumante" largely was abandoned after the wine earned a Denominazione de Origine classification in 1993.

Asti is named after the Italian city where it's produced. Earlier Astis were quite sweet, but as the wine has come into its own, producers are making Astis that are slightly drier and more complex.

Unlike fermented wines, Asti usually is stored in cold temperatures, according to the Charmat method. Yeast is added later, and another chilling stops the fermentation process. However, some producers use the Champagne or other methods under which the wine is also fermented in the bottle. Whatever production method is used, Asti should be consumed soon after it's opened, because its quality deteriorates with age.

Because of its lightness and sweetness, Asti is often served very cold as a dessert wine. It pairs especially well with fruit desserts. Many new wine drinkers find it to be a more accessible and enjoyable alternative to champagne.

Moscato d'Asti is another sparkling wine produced in Asti from Moscato grapes. It has a higher sugar content and a lower alcohol content than Asti wine.

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