It’s bonfire night in Britain, a curious and culturally slightly dubious celebration involving burning effigies, setting off fireworks and eating baked potatoes and sausages.
We had our party last night, and it was a hoot. One thing you do need to be careful of is ensuring that the designated firework lighter and anyone likely to be waggling a sparkler stays reasonably sober. The perfect wine to start the party in a cheery way was Asti. We had Ca’Solare’s Asti DOCG.
It was a pale lemon green, kind of like fresh clear grape juice, with small bubbles creating a little froth. It smelled fresh and bright with oodles of fresh grape aromas as well as some apricot and orange blossom.
It was medium sweet, not cloying with a medium acidity and creamy mousse. The Muscat grape flavour dominated, but there was more peach and orange in the mouth. At around a fiver it’s fabulous value, and with 7.5% alcohol everyone can have a glass without worrying. After a second glass the sugar does start to kick in so it would be tough to get drunk on if you tried.
I do feel that Asti is an under-rated wine, and doesn’t get as many outings as it deserves. It’s light, flavourful and fun – perfect for a mixed crowd. This was a good example, with good fruit character, well worth the money. You’ll pay a pound or two more for the more recognisable Martini brand, but it’s hard to go wrong with any Consorzio dell’Asti member brand as long as you buy it from a retailer who turns it over quickly, and you drink it up quickly. It doesn’t age well.