Italy’s 2011 harvest begins with Cerutti’s Moscato…


Cerruti Moscato soilsI kick off this year’s coverage of Italy’s harvest with Gianmario Cerutti picking his delicious 2011 Moscato.

Under sunny skies and a welcome, if stiffening, breeze Gianmario chose to harvest this year’s crop a couple of weeks ahead of last year. The burning sun of the past three weeks had clearly left its mark on south facing bunches, forcing the harvest to be brought forward to capture the acidity.

But then at 350 metres above sea level, on steep powdery sand and limestone soils, Cerutti’s Moscato are not short of fresh, white elderflower minerality. He has two Moscato vineyards, both overlooking Canelli and the Valle Belbo. The younger east south east facing site produces the nervier fruit; bunches alive with the energy and zip of the bright morning sun. Over the ridge, below the cantina, is the west south west facing plot of original, older vines that on tasting yesterday showed more sugary richness from the heat of the afternoon. Needless to say Gianmario blends the fruit of these two contrasting vineyards to arrive at an ‘ottimo vino’.

Cerruti MoscatoOnly 20% of Gianmario’s production is currently bottled under his own label (our of approximately 300 hl produced/year), the rest being sold off as bulk wine; he plans to bottle more. For with China showing an increasing thirsty for this low alcohol (5-5.5% abv), minerally sweet, grapy wine (circa130 grams of residual sugar) this is clearly a good time to be focusing on fine Moscato d’Asti. Anzi (in fact) Gianmario is currently replanting an experimental Riesling vineyard planted by his Dad to do just that!

Next week I’ll be reporting on Berrys’ 8th September annual Italian tasting where Gianmario Cerutti will be pouring his frothy 2010 Moscato d’Asti ‘Suri Sandrinet’ (the 2011 wine won’t be ready before Christmas!)