Wine: Astoria Lounge Vino Spumante Dolce
Grapes: Moscato (50 percent), prosecco (50 percent)
Region: Veneto, Northern Italy
In the glass: Astoria Lounge is a fine bright lemon-yellow with a clean translucent core going out into a water-clear rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: There are immediate charming floral notes of gardenias, jasmine blossom, apricot skins, green figs, honeysuckle and crushed almonds. The fizziness is light in this delicious-scented wine and mandarin marmalade notes round out the lightly mineral lift from the sparkles.
On the palate: The wine is as tasty as the scent promises, with sweet cling peach and ripe apricot character at first, then honeyed white fruit, ripe cantaloupe and the soft bubbliness adds a hint of raisin bread. While not in the same category as Champagne of Methode Champenoise wines, the midpalate does have a bit of acidity to ensure that the sweetness doesn’t get flabby, which would have made it difficult to go for another glass. Instead, it carries nicely through to the finish with the sweet marmalade notes and lingers for a while.
Odds and ends: Italy is famous for this kind of sweet, sparkly wine, which is most often known as moscato or asti spumante. Astoria Lounge is a little different in that two fragrant and light white grape varieties are blended to form a well-balanced, yet sweet — but not sticky — lightly carbonated beverage. It is an excellent late summer aperitif wine by the glass, or with a fruit salad dessert at the end of a nice meal. Given that the content is under pressure and sweet, and is of no particular vintage, it should keep for years in a fridge or cellar, and even for a few days after opening.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.