Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Il Falchetto Tenuta Del Fant Moscato d'Asti

Il Falchetto is the only Moscato ever to receive a three glass (highest) rating from Gambero Rosso, the premier tasting panel of Italy, and in the couple Gambero Rosso volumes I have here in the store, only two to three percent of the wines they taste receive that rating.  By that criterion, Il Falchetto is the best Moscato there is...period.

So the question here is, what makes it so good?  Let's describe the wine first.  Il Falchetto is a bright yellow-green-gold in color.  The wine's aroma is elegant yet deep with honey and musk; sweet yellow citrus fruits; lime, green apple, and stonefruit; and then made complete with floral and sage undertones.  In the mouth the wine feels light and soft and effervescent, along with being fresh and sweet.  By contrast, on the palate the wine is rich, creamy, and malty with gobs of peaches, apricots, and fresh grapes, yet not so much of all of the above so as to compromise the wine's acidity.  The wine then finishes respectfully long with lingering fruit flavors.

Perhaps a word should be said about the property.  Il Falchetto is estate-sourced from three family-owned vineyards in the heart of Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy.  Moscato Bianco is the name of this, the oldest of Moscato grapes, and ampelographers have traced its origin to the thirteenth century and the town of Canelli in Asti.  The soils which provide the foundation for these thirty-five year old Moscato vines lie 100 feet above sea level at a southern exposure and consist of limestone, sand, and silt.  The vineyard yield is a low 65hl per hectare and the period of fermentation is seven days at a temperature controlled 59-61 degrees.

So what makes this wine so good?  Because Il Falchetto is old vine, estate grown, hand harvested fruit, gently de-stemmed and quickly pressed in a cool controlled environment; aromas as expressive as these may be possible.  Then since so much of wine tasting is done with the nose, and knowing how light-hearted and indulgent typical Moscatos are, Il Falchetto stands way above the rest.  The rest of the well-structured tasting attributes depicted above then embellish what the aromas advertise.

Two final points: Like all European wines, Il Falchetto shows exceedingly well with food; in this case, fresh fruit, fruit cocktail, hazelnut, yeasty pastries, or aged cheese.  Secondly, if you want to taste it at its best, use a tulip shaped glass to allow those wonderful aromas to waft even more expressively above the glass.

Friday February 14th is Valentine's Day.  Between 5 and 7pm on that day we will be pairing red wines with chocolate here at the store.  This will be a different kind of tasting for us because some of us (ahem) have had difficulty in the past with this combination.  So on Friday we are going to get as scientific as we can in our endeavors to make this thing work.  Please join us on Friday if you want to participate in this groundbreaking project.

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