Savour this intense red wine from Bergamo
|Moscato di Scanzo should be|
savoured like a good port
A red wine that has earned the status Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), the highest grade given to a wine in Italy, Moscato di Scanzo is made from grapes harvested solely from the fields around Scanzorosciate, a town about six kilometres (four miles) to the northeast of Bergamo in the foothills of the southern Alps.
The dark-skinned Moscato di Scanzo grape variety was probably brought to Lombardy by the Romans, who evicted the Gauls from the area in about 50 BC. By the Renaissance period, Moscato di Scanzo was known to be a favourite wine among the northern Italian nobility.
During the 18th century, the Czarina Catherine II of Russia - commonly known as Catherine the Great - received Moscato di Scanzo wine as a gift from the Bergamo architect Giacomo Quarenghi, who designed many magnificent buildings in St Petersburg.
In 1850, it was the only Italian wine to be listed on London’s stock exchange for 50 guineas per barrel.
In 2012, the Italian mail decided to pay tribute to Moscato di Scanzo DOCG by dedicating a stamp to it.
|The grapes for Moscato di Scanzo are grown|
on the hills overlooking Scanzorosciate
The wine became a DOC in 2002 and was upgraded to full DOCG status in 2009. The upgrade brought in stricter production conditions, which stipulate not only the maximum yields and ripeness levels at harvest, but also minimum alcohol levels and residual sugar in the finished wine.
Moscato di Scanzo is an expensive wine because of the production process required to make it. The manual harvest takes place between late September and mid-October. The grapes are carefully selected and dried on special racks for at least three weeks. They lose about 30 percent of their harvest weight through evaporation, concentrating both their natural sugars and flavours. Afterwards, careful pressing extracts as much of the juice as possible.
Once fermented, the wine is aged for a minimum of two years in steel or glass containers. It cannot go on sale until 1 November two years after the harvest and should be served at 15 degrees centigrade in large glasses.
The wine is said to go well with the cheeses produced in Bergamo, such as Strachitunt and Formai de Mut, and with dark chocolate and dry pastries.
If you get the chance to try a glass of the precious Moscato di Scanzo, savour every sip of the soft, smooth, full-bodied ruby red wine.
Picture credits: Wine in glass by nonnoant via Wiki Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0); Scanzorosciate by Dans via Wiki Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)