The Hills Of Moscato: A Spectacular Sight In Piedmont
Uno scorcio delle Colline del Moscato in provincia di Asti

 The Hills Of Moscato:
A Spectacular Sight In Piedmont

 

If one suddenly asks: «Which road among the vineyards is the most astounding in Piedmont?», we will undoubtedly reply: «It is the one that from Mango, passing through Valdivilla, reaches Santo Stefano Belbo after about ten kilometers. The road of the breathtaking Hills of Moscato.


The Hills of Moscato cover a large area of southern Piedmont that includes the hills on the border between the provinces of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. The area was delimited in 1932 and encloses 52 municipalities where it is possible to grow Moscato Bianco grapes for the production of Asti Docg and Moscato d’Asti Docg.

The total area of the Moscato Bianco vineyard is about 9,700 hectares and it is located, roughly, from North to South between the municipalities of Incisa Scapaccino and Perletto; and from West to East between San Rocco Seno d’Elvio (a hamlet of Alba) and Strevi. There are two other areas, outside the aforementioned borders, where Asti and Moscato d’Asti Docg can be produced. These are the municipalities of Santa Vittoria d’Alba, in Roero, and that of Serralunga d’Alba, on the hills of Barolo, where Moscato has been cultivated since the early 19th century.

Thus, it appears that the Hills of Moscato cover a vast landscape. It stretches from Alta Langa, dominated by woods and hazelnut groves, to the sinewy hills of Asti, with its long and rounded ridges, where vineyards fill every inch of land.


On the Moscato Hills the rows here climb very steep ridges,
with slopes reaching 50%.


IN THE HEART OF MOSCATO

But the heart of the Hills of Moscato is located between Langhe and Monferrato, along the road that leads from Mango to Santo Stefano Belbo, and from there proceeds, in various directions, to Camo, Loazzolo, Cassinasco, Canelli and Calamandrana. Here, we find a spectacular landscape of very steep hills, called “Sorì”, which means «well exposed, sunny», definitely suitable for growing grapes.

The rows here climb steep ridges, with slopes that reach 50%. This is a majestic view. The vineyards are literally swallowed up by cliffs that jut out towards the foot of the hills and dissipate in dense woods crossed by small streams. The scene opens onto new valleys and new hills, where the red roofs of the farmhouses and the towers of the rural churches come into view.

To facilitate grape harvest, for centuries, winemakers have created kilometers of terraces supported by dry stone walls made with Pietra di Langa. The light gray color of the Pietra can be clearly distinguished from that of the soils, which are formed by a very light sand, almost appearing white because it is rich in calcareous marl. At dawn or dusk, the light creates a golden veil on these hills, setting the soil ablaze with streaks ranging from dark orange to ocher, from lemon yellow to mustard, in stark contrast to the brilliant green of the vine leaves.

We can speak of heroic viticulture in the area of the Sorì: winegrowing is entirely carried out by hand in extreme conditions, on slopes that constantly challenge growers and do not allow the use of machinery.


"Heroic" viticulture on extreme slopes around Cossano Belbo


ASTI AND MOSCATO D’ASTI DOCG DUCHESSA LIA

In terms of geology, the Hills of Moscato originated in the Tertiary period, precisely during the Miocene: these are underwater formations that date back to over 20 million years ago. The soils are made up of deposits of calcareous sands and calcareous whitish marls. On the surface, these characteristics coincide with the «calcina» described by famous Italian writer, Cesare Pavese: a white and very fine powder that becomes hot during the day and shines under the moon at night, arising as small puffs at each step: «Lassù brucia il sole tutto il giorno – Pavese writes in his poetic collection “Lavorare stanca” - e la terra è calcina: si vede anche


DISCOVER ASTI DOCG, ASTI SECCO DOCG
AND MOSCATO D'ASTI DOCG DUCHESSA LIA



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