Martini & Rossi Asti, Italy
Cost: $12-15
D uring these dog days of summer we’re all looking for something to drink that is refreshing and cooling. I have been searching and have found another perfect summer drink.
Martini & Rossi Asti served on the rocks is perfect for those days you just want to sit on the porch and sip something cooling. I know purists will turn up their noses at pouring wine over ice, but if you try it you will become a believer.
Oh sure, you can always get a nice rosé, but you need a change of pace sometimes and the Martini & Rossi Asti is just that.
It is sparkling and slightly sweet, with flavors of melon, peach, elderberry with a touch of sage. My wife Teri commented on what a great aroma it has. The natural sweetness of the wine becomes crisp when you pour it over ice. And at 7.5 percent alcohol, you can drink a lot of it without getting tipsy.
I have tried a lot of sparkling wines and lighter wines this summer, looking for a simple, refreshing drink, and this is one of the best. I was surprised at how much I liked this wine, because too often off-dry wines have a cloying sweetness that is anything but refreshing.
The Martini & Rossi Asti preserves the natural sweetness and fragrance of the grapes with a light pressing and short fermentation. The Moscato Bianco grapes from the Asti DOCG region produce a smooth, silky and elegant wine. Fermentation is stopped before it reaches completion, to preserve some residual sugar in the wine.
It should be served well chilled, either in a flute or in a larger wine glass over ice. This wine is widely available from your favorite wine shop or grocery store.
Winery: Martini & Rossi has been around since 1863 and is well known for several vermouths and sparkling wines.
It started as a vermouth bottling plant in Pessione. Three men eventually took over the company, Alessandro Martini, winemaker Luigi Rossi and Teofilo Sola. The Sola family sold out in 1879 and the Rossi family took full control in 1892. In 1993 the company merged with Bacardi.
For their vermouth, they blend crisp white wines with carefully formulated combinations of aromatic fruit, barks, exotic spices and herbs, such as Artemisia – picked from the nearby fields of Pancalieri.
Their Piedmont location also puts the company close to the Asti region where they have used Bianco Moscato grapes to make Asti Spumante for decades. The company also proudes prosecco with 100 percent glera grapes grown in Veneto. It also has a sparkling riesling and an extra dry rosé sparkler.
The founders of the company carefully selected Pessione for their winery because it is close to the wine growers of Piedmont, the botanical-rich foothills of the Alps, the vermouth trade of Turin and the port of Genoa.
Visitors to Italy can check out Casa Martini, which has a museum and an art gallery.
We drank our Asti from cute glasses our friend Sandy made for us.
Goes with: One hot afternoon last week Teri and I decided to start dinner with appetizers and the Martini & Rossi Asti. It was a great choice, and we loved the combination so much we kept drinking it through dinner.
We had ordered Chinese food to go because it was too hot to cook. So we started our aperitif with egg rolls and fried dumplings. It was a great combination as the slightly sweet wine matched the sweetness of the duck sauce with the egg roll. And it was a nice match to the tangy soy sauce served with the dumplings.
Sparkling wines and sweeter wines are perfect with Asian food, so we just poured more Asti when we moved to our main courses, Kung Po Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken. The wine was a great match for all the food.
The Asti also would go well with desserts such as pastries, tarts or fresh gelato, ripe fruit or smooth cheeses.
You could also use this wine to make mimosas, mixing equal parts of orange juice and the Asti.

If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at

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