Grape Masterclass
Moscato di Scanzo: The Only  Italian Black-berried Moscato

Moscato di Scanzo: The Only Italian Black-berried Moscato

Introduction

Lombardy isn’t for sure famous for its sweet wines. Or at least this is what you might think. But wine lovers are always willing to “embrace” pleasant surprises.

First of all, Lombardy is among the Italian “Zone Vocate” for the production of Traditional Method sparkling wines. On top of it, Moscato di Scanzo DOCG is the smallest Italian appellation, as far as we know. The production is very low and as a result, finding a bottle might be quite challenging. This explains why it’s a bit expensive. Don’t expect this wine to be as affordable as Moscato d’Asti…

The first step to buying a bottle of wine is to be aware of its existence. Besides, the first thing popping up to people’s minds when it comes to Moscato is the aromatic white grape from Piedmont. So, we wanted to bring your attention to the only blackberry Moscato in Italy as an outstanding DOCG comes from it.

If what we have said isn’t enough, you must know that Moscato di Scanzo is one of the 11 DOCGs which devote themselves to the production of sweet wines.

Did we catch your attention now? So, let’s move on…

Figure 1: A peacful landscape with a glass of sough-after Moscato di Scanzo (wildabouttravel.com, 2020)

The Grape: Moscato di Scanzo

First and foremost, we want to highlight that Moscato di Scanzo is both the name of the DOCG and the name of the grape used to make it. This is already a relief because you can make two friends with one gift.

The Origins

Moscato di Scanzo grape most probably comes from Scanzorosciate, in the province of Bergamo. Although it’s also found just to the south in the hills between Seriate and Valseriana.

It’s been planted since the mid 14th century, although we had to wait till the 1789 for the first reliable written reference. DNA parentage analysis has shown a relationship between Moscato di Scanzo and Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains (Crespan and Milani, 2001), making it related to other five varieties that are common to it: Aleatico (Moscatello Nero), Moscatello Giallo, Moscatello Rosa del Trentino, Muscat of Alexandria and the non-cultivated Muscat Rouge de Madére.

Viticultural Characteristics

  • Mid to late-ripening;
  • Irregular yields;
  • Medium to high acidity levels;
  • Low tannin levels;
  • Medium to high alcohol content;
  • Full-bodied wine;
  • Unique of Bergamo (Scanzorosciate);
Figure 2: Some Moscato di Scanzo grapes undergoing the “appassimento method” (baroloeco.it, 2020)

Primary and secondary aromas are the main ones when it comes to Moscato di Scanzo DOCG. A spectacular, almost “inky”, ruby red color that turns garnet with bottle aging is the first thing you will notice. Confusing it for its big friend Montefalco Sagrantino isn’t uncommon. However, the nose can give you some more accurate hints of what is in the glass. Sagrantino’s main drives are the secondary aromas of licorice and black pepper. Whereas the main focus here is tobacco and sweet spices such as clove.

It’s the perfect wine you have to pull off after an amazing dinner with your best friends. If they didn’t have enough wine yet, offer them a sough-after Moscato di Scanzo with some dark chocolate and a good cigar. That’s AMORE!

The DOCG, Its Styles, And The Best Producers

Moscato di Scanzo was granted DOCG in 2009. It’s a monovarietal sweet wine made 100% from late-harvested Moscato di Scanzo grapes. These are dried off the vines for at least 21 days. So they undergo “appassimento method” just like the Amarones.

Once again, this DOCG devotes itself entirely to sweet wines.

These are the Wine Jokers’ recommendations:

Figure 3: Moscato di Scanzo and chocolate, a great marriage (moscatomartinelli.com, 2020)

You might find also wines made 100% with Moscato di Scanzo within the Valcalepio DOC. In fact, we believe this DOC is worth mentioning. Since this is a DOC, the production is higher (less strict yields) and the wines could be easier to find. Hence they could be more affordable. Valcalepio DOC makes also the white and red style (the latter is a Bordeaux blend by the way…). Here are two Passito wines we personally loved:


Conclusions

We wrote this article for two main reasons.

First and foremost, we didn’t want you to think that Lombardy is only famous for its crispy bubbles and its Valtellina Superiore DOCG. Secondly, we didn’t want you to only think about Piedmont and its Moscato d’Asti whenever you hear the word “Moscato”.

As we saw, Moscato di Scanzo is completely different from the more approachable and easy-drinking white Moscato from Asti. The bold red Moscato is definitely a product you should add to your bucket list if you didn’t try it yet.

We personally loved it, and we consider it to be a valid alternative to sweet fortified wines such as Port and Madeira as well. Consider the thrilling idea of drinking just local wines when you visit Lombardy. From the aperitif till the dessert (and even beyond while meditating…), this Italian northerly region has something unique for every palate.


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