It was posited early in the recent tasting that Moscato d’Asti can work well as an aperitif, too. I initially thought that it was an odd sentiment given the comparative sweetness of the wine. Like a lot of people, I often enjoy a bit of bitterness in libations before dinner to help further whet the appetite (not that I usually need much help). But, at the tasting the evident sugar in Moscato d’Asti helped it pair very well with the excellent salumi that had been plated for us; and prosciutto and salame that are popular picks for pre-dinner snacks, both in Italy and when I entertain. That the Moscato d’Asti worked with the salty or piquant slices was just like the off-dry amabile version of Lambrusco is the preferred wine of the locals to drink with the cured meats in Parma and environs. I had confirmed that this past summer while there; it seemed rude not to consume at least a half-kilo of prosciutto di Parma and culatello while in Parma.
The make-up of Moscato d’Asti, not only its relative sweetness but also its low amount of alcohol, just around 5%, also helps make it an appropriate starter here with our heat and humidity. Moscato d’Asti can be light and fairly refreshing on our many, many warm days A touch of sweetness goes well with warmth. Though carrying a lot of sugar, Moscato d’Asti is also quite acidic. This acidity dampens the impact of that sugar while making the wines seem fresher and also work better with a big range of foods, including the prosciutto. There is sweetness but it’s in balance with other aspects of the wine, making it more useful and enjoyable.
So, Moscato d’Asti really is something to consider before dinner here. And, after dinner, too, of course. It also has the added benefit of being quite affordable: a good bottle can easily be found for $15 to $20.
The Moscato d'Asti went well with this cake, but it can work well before the cake, too.