Among Italy’s smallest DOCGs, a tiny patchwork of just about 30 hectares planted with vines spread over the green hills of Scanzorosciate, in the province of Bergamo. Moscato di Scanzo Docg is a prized red gem of a wine that can be said to be unique for a variety of reasons. First of all, let’s start with the grape variety, a red berry Moscato, which is far rarer than its white berry Piedmont cousins, from which, for example, Moscato d’Asti Docg is made, or the ones from Alto Adige (Moscato Giallo or Goldmuskateller) from which very pleasant dry table wines are made.
The soils also want their share
Moscato di Scanzo is unique because it is born only here, amid these rolling hills, marked by Sass de Luna (the Moon Stone), a limestone-marly formation whose name immediately evokes that dusty white ‘great step for mankind,’ which made history, and, in the case of Bergamo, continues to do so. This rock, which crumbles and emerges from the ground due to weathering, and that surfaces in vineyards especially on Mount Bastia, attracting the rays of the sun during the day while retaining and releasing heat to the plants at night. This is a very important process, sheltering from frost, affecting chlorophyll photosynthesis and, thanks to the composition of the minerals in the rock, marks the aromas of the wine.
The scents are also unique, in particular one that greatly connotes it and that admittedly not all the products on sale can boast, due to the varying different soils where the Sass de Luna is not always there. We are talking about that distinctive whiff of incense, or as they say around here ‘church-like’, and that immediately comes out of the glass. Hints of withered rose, chestnut honey, wild berries and sometimes a captivating note of cinnamon are added to this characteristic whiff. The colour changes depending on the year, from ruby to garnet, but is definitely impenetrable, while the sip is sweet, intense, marked by a good acidity and duration.
All are very good, just twenty of them, and it is possible to meet them during the Moscato Festival, held in September. One big name is worth mentioning out of all of them, Manuel Biava, whose products are exported worldwide, including New York, where his production is contended. Not surprisingly, his winery is right on Mount Bastia.
Like a passito wine, it lends itself to meditation wine, with dry pastries and chocolate cakes. However, the real pleasure, allow us to state it clearly, is to enjoy it with a giant slice of Strachitunt, the light-grey, blue-veined cheese, which sometimes veers towards notes of dried fruit, according to its maturity. A pairing that will set you off on an Apollo 11 round trip to the moon – or better – to its Sass di Scanzorosciate! Bon voyage!