By Rick Riozza
Pretty much every decent Martini and Manhattan cocktail drinker knows of the Martini & Rossi brand of vermouth—both the “dry” in the iconic-shaped green bottle, and the “sweet”/ “Rosso” in the red one. And so you should be! The brand is world famous and the dry vermouth is rated as one of the top five brands around.
So with such a high-bar of quality to maintain, any wine enthusiast can feel confident to taste and enjoy the sparkling qualities of both the Martini & Rossi Asti Sparkling and the Prosecco. At our recent CV Weekly table tasting of holiday bubbly, we found that for the price of around $12 or so for a bottle, the M&R brand could not be beat for value and quality.
And as with their vermouth bottles, the M&R brand sparklers bottles are recognizable as well. Now for the longest time, the “Asti” had the tag-along “Spumante” name attached. The generic term of “asti spumante” has always been around in northern Italy and it meant that the sparkling wine had a full set of bubbles. A sparkling wine with a “soft” set of bubbles is known a “frizzante” in Italian.
However the M&R brand have decided to just go with the Asti Sparkling Wine name that is now on the label.
Although I’m not a big sweet sparkler lover, I do have a place in my heart—and apparently in my gut, for the Asti stuff. We stayed a week in the beautiful town of Asti in the Piedmonte region of north Italy. It’s a great mid-point to Torino and to continue on your way to Milano. But the muscat grape of Asti is world class and produces the famous Moscato d’Asti wine.
We previously wrote about spending the entire afternoon at a wonderful ristorante where we paired various vintage Moscato d’Asti, and Barolos. Just the best of memories! And that’s why I will enjoy the M&R Asti Sparkler for the holidays.
“Technically speaking, an Asti (Spumante) should be crisper and more aromatic, and, a Moscato d’Asti softer, plumper, and sweeter. But it doesn’t always work that way. As with any wine, the best Asti and Moscato d’Asti are marked by balance—in this case, a balance of peach-and-apricot sweetness with a cleansing surge of acidity.”
And for all of us “dessert wine or sweet wine” enthusiasts, that’s the what’s it’s all about: we love the fruit sweetness complexities, but it has to be balanced with a fresh acidity to keep it interesting and non-cloying—as with French Sauternes, German Ice Wine, and Hungarian Tokaji.
Here’s the review and PR from the winery: Martini & Rossi Asti DOCG: A classic holiday bottle, this fully sparkling white wine boasts a seamless, smooth, and sweet taste. Grape, melon, and peach peak through the wine’s crisp bubbles. A glass of Asti is a sweet conclusion to any holiday dinner party, alongside a sweet dessert.
In the province of Asti, the steep and sun-drenched hills in the heart of the Piedmont region provide the perfect growing environment. This prime location has helped make Moscato D’Asti one of the world’s most famous wines.
With a beautiful fragrance and low alcohol content, the cool, fresh sensation of drinking M&R Asti makes it the perfect wine for both every day and special occasions. The Asti Sparkling Wine has the sweetness of the specially grown Moscato Bianco grape from the steep, sun-drenched hills of the Asti region. The grapes are pressed and fermented quickly to retain their natural aromatic qualities.
The resulting pressed juices, called ‘mosto’, become the base that makes this wine retain an exquisitely fruity and fragrant character, with hints of green apple, peach and pear. On the tongue, rich, honeyed notes are balanced with the natural lighter grape must to create a taste explosion of fresh fruit and elderflower flavors.
Now comes the Martini & Rossi Prosecco: This prosecco is loved globally for its deliciously dry and fruitful style. Beautifully versatile, your readers can gift this bottle to the holiday party host, and it’s also the perfect pour to the star of the holiday meal.
M&R Prosecco Sparkling Wine is a dry, aromatic Italian sparkling wine made from the Glera grapes that grow in the lush, sun-drenched foothills of the Veneto and Friuli regions of north-eastern Italy. Ripened in this ideal climate, they give this Prosecco wine a stimulating fragrance.
Delightful over ice, it is the perfect complement to brunch or as an aperitivo and. This Prosecco Sparkling Wine encapsulates the subtle, natural hints of apple, banana, peach and thyme to produce a dry, fresh and crisply aromatic sparkling wine which is a favorite worldwide. Since 2009, an appellation has protected the integrity of the Prosecco wine region. Only wines made from grapes in its prized vineyards can claim its hallowed name. This Prosecco Sparkling Wine is one of only a few coveted ambassadors of this world-renowned Italian wine.
For the holiday gatherings, the above Martini & Rossi sparklers along with a cheese platter is a classic Italian endeavor that never fails to impress. Pick cheeses that are light and fresh, rather than aggressively sharp and smelly. Your best bet will be gorgonzola or a crescenza. Top off with some fresh figs, grapes, nuts or whatever else sounds good and you’ve got the perfect party platter. Buone Feste!!