Asti Spumante

Ahs-tee spu-mahn-tee

Parents & Origin: Piedmont, Italy
Grape: Moscato Bianco
Flavors: Peach, Pear, Honeysuckle
Notable Regions: Cuneo, Asti, Alessandria Provinces
Sweetness: Sweet
Body: Light
Tannins: Light
Acidity: Medium
ABV: 7% - 9%

Asti Spumante is for sweet, sparkling wine lovers. When opening a bottle of this wine, you’ll be greeted with creamy bubbles and aromas of pear, honeysuckle, and peaches. This wine is a natural pairing with sweet dessert items and chocolate, too.

The History of Asti Spumante

The moscato grape used in Asti Spumante production is regarded as the oldest grape varietal in the world. Most would describe these grapes as having the most “grape-flavored” aromas. As a perennial grape it is widely grown, but is most famous in northern Italy. This grape varietal is indigenous to the Piedmont region and considered to have been in the area for hundreds if not thousands of years. Yet the production of sparkling Asti Spumante wines with Moscato varietals is actually a fairly new product from Italy.

The word “spumante” actually means “sparkling wine” in Italian, meaning Asti Spumante is a more specific name that includes the region as well. While spumante does mean sparkling wine, it doesn’t indicate the sweetness level of the wine nor the types of grapes used.

Back in 1870, the first Asti Spumante was produced by Carlo Gancia, a winemaker who studied production in France. Gancia produced this wine in the Italian town of Canelli, where wine eventually became so popular that the Moscato grape (also known as “Muscat”) gained a nickname “Muscat Canelli,” a nickname still printed on wine labels today.

Asti Spumante grew in popularity within the United States after returning WWII soldiers developed a palette for light, sweet wines, and brought some home with them. The demand for this wine skyrocketed afterwards, which encouraged winemakers to turn to bulk production methods like the Charmat method to keep up. The Charmat method involves a sealed fermentation tank as compared to a fermentation bottle. However, most of these exported Asti Spumante wines were not received well by the public, regarded as a low quality sweet wine.

Asti Spumante gained D.O.C.G. status in 1993. This rating means that any Asti Spumante wine is required by Italian wine law to be made entirely from Moscato Bianco grapes. Another requirement is that this wine must be fermented to an ABV that falls between 7 to 9%. After gaining D.O.C.G. status, winemakers shortened the name, simply calling these wines “Asti,” in an effort to distance the newer wine from its negative old reputation.

These days, modern styles of Asti Spumante are generally less sweet and contain more fruit flavors than years past.

Asti Spumante Food Pairings

As a sweeter wine, Asti Spumante does not pair well with a lot of foods. But, there are a few we do recommend.

The Best Asti Spumante Food Pairings

Asti Spumante is most commonly enjoyed as a dessert pairing or as an apéritif.

When eating desserts, it's commonly the sweet taste of the food that persists across each bite. This means wines that are more dry clash with the sugar content of sweet desserts. In this case, Asti Spumante is a perfect companion because its natural sweetness matches those of dessert items, making it a great combination with apple pies with cream, glazed fruits, and hazelnut desserts. During the holiday season, this wine goes great with pudding, peach cobbler, and citrus-y cakes.

However, Asti Spumante’s sweetness and acidity also makes it a great pairing with savory foods as well. When at a brunch, picnic, or garden party, Asti Spumante should be a fitting choice with salted and cured meats like charcuterie, strong cheeses, salted nuts, or chips for an extra crunch. When paired with summer salads, this wine brings out both the freshness of the vegetables and the freshness of the wine itself as well.

Finally, Asti Spumante can also be paired with spicy Asian foods like Thai, Szechuan, or Korean cuisine. The sweetness of the wine counteracts the heat of the food, but don’t get too carried away! It’s easy to take big gulps of this delicious sipper when eating spicy foods.

Food Pairings to Avoid with Asti Spumante

Try your best to avoid chocolate dessert items when enjoying Asti Spumante. Foods with chocolate will overpower the fruit flavors in delicate white wines, meaning all the important flavors are drowned out.

Asti Spumante Tasting Notes

Generally, when tasting Asti Spumante you’ll first be greeted by a lovely sweetness and freshness. This wine is effortless, easy-drinking, and its low alcohol content means it won’t go straight to your head quickly.

The wine itself is a brilliant golden straw-yellow color, with a fine perlage that persists across every single sip. Asti Spumante gives off aromas of roses, with hints of sage and acacia flowers as well. Those familiar with Moscato wines will unmistakably taste the similarities in Spumante, which is full and velvety on the whole.

A quality bottle of Asti Spumante is fresh, light-bodied, and has a delicate palate of oranges, pears, apricots, and peaches. These flavors are balanced out against crisp acidity that makes this wine a refreshing in-between wine when eating, with fruity flavors lingering past each sip.

We recommend serving Asti Spumante chilled, at a temperature range of 42 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our Selection of Asti Spumante

  • Italy: Abbazia Asti Spumante D.O.C.G. - This light and distinctive non-vintage Italian wine was produced in Piedmont, the same region that produces coveted truffles, cheeses and meats.
  • Italy: Scavi & Ray Prosecco D.O.C. - This enthralling Italian Prosecco is made from hand picked grapes grown in the Veneto region. Pop open a bottle and enjoy a refreshing, dry feel with fine bubbles.

Asti Spumante in a Nutshell

If you’re looking for effervescent white wines and want to try something other than Champagne or Prosecco, Asti Spumante is the right pick for you. The native Italian wine has grown in popularity and reputation in the last decade, and it’s sweet, low-alcohol qualities and fresh fruity flavors make it a wine that is easily paired with many dessert foods and occasions like picnics or brunches.

Ready to learn more? Don't forget to check out our other wine guides:

Or simply head back to Wine 101!

Learn About Rosé Wine
Learn About Moscato Wine