I swirled the wine in the glass and marvelled at its silky texture and rich ruby-red colour. Despite its dark appearance, I noticed a wondrous clarity in the liquid. I lifted the glass to my nose and in an instant, my nose was filled with aromas of plums and cherries, and a whiff of rosehip and sage. The bouquet was incredibly well-balanced: sweet, fruity with herb and chocolate undertones. I closed my eyes as I took my first sip. It was an astonishing, almost religious experience. The moderately-sweet taste was complex yet elegant. The fruity flavours were distinct but not overpowering, superbly balanced by hints of herbs, chocolate and tobacco. In sheer excitement, my mind raced to find the right adjectives to describe the wine but this soon gave way to a feeling of serenity and equilibrium. I sighed, opened my eyes and smiled. I peered at the glass and felt in awe of this wine: an absolutely divine Moscato di Scanzo.
The meditation wine
Prior to this experience, I always thought of Muscat wines as being sweet, dessert wines. Gosh, how wrong was I! This particular wine, Moscato di Scanzo, is produced on the unique, mineral-rich limestone hills (called Sas de Luna) of Scanzo. The grape varietal used for this wine only grows in the small municipality of Scanzorosciate (map) near Bergamo in northern Italy.
The Moscato di Scanzo can trace its history back to the 14th century. In the 18th century, the Moscato became the favoured wine of Catherine the Great of Russia. Through the centuries, production techniques were refined and in 2009, the Moscato wine was granted the DOCG title, the highest classification for Italian wines. The Moscato di Scanzo is often referred to as a meditation wine, and I quickly understood why after that first tasting!
The producers of Moscato di Scanzo are united in a Consortium, whose aim is to grow the Moscato brand and market the wine globally. Due to the small production – the vineyard I visited, Azienda Agricola Biava, produces an average of 800 bottles each year – the Moscato di Scanzo wine is very exclusive and can only be found in very specialised wine stores in Italy and in various Michelin-starred establishments. Alternatively, these Moscato di Scanzo wineries are open for visits and tastings (reservations are required):
La Brugherata – www.labrugherata.it
Magri Sereno – www.aziendaagricolamagrisereno.it
Pagnoncelli – www.moscatopagnoncelli.com
The perfectly-balanced taste, rich aromas and silky texture lingered in my mind as I left the vineyard. This was my first introduction to a meditation wine and the experience left me in a state of amazement and awe.
Note: my visit to Bergamo is part of the #inLombardia365 project, a collaboration between iambassador and Lombardy Tourism. As always, all views expressed above are mine, and mine only.