Italian Sweeties for the Holidays

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The holiday season is a great time for something sweet and festive. Of course, I'm not talking about fruit cake. I'm talking about wine - beautiful, lightly sweet, sparkling wine from Italy's Piemonte region.
 
Bosio Moscato D'Asti (Santo Stefano Belbo, Italy) Regular Price $12.15, Feature Price $9.72
Moscato D'Asti is a white sparkling wine made from the Moscato Canelli grape, a member of the huge Muscat family of grapes that are grown around the world, mostly for fresh grapes or raisins. Indeed, some oenologists believe the Muscat was the founding grape from which all other wine grapes have descended.
This wine is made in the region around Asti, at the foot of the Alps in northwest Italy...thus Moscato D'Asti (mo-SKAH-toe DA-stee), the Muscat wine from Asti. This is a wine of sparkle and light sweetness and low alcohol (5.5%). The flavors and aromas are reminiscent of tree fruits like peaches or pears.  These characteristics make it a perfect celebration companion, served chilled in pretty glasses, after the meal or before.
Don't worry if you "don't like sweet wine." Neither do I. But I like this one. Its sweetness is not cloying, and the sparkle wakes up your mouth and makes all right with the world. I like the effusive description on the bottle. I think you can appreciate it even if you don't know Italian:
Elegante nel profumo,

delicato e floreale,

fresco ed armonico
 
Sant'Evasio Brachetto D'Acqui (Monferrato, Italy) Regular Price $18.60, Feature Price $14.88
I think of this one as "the red Moscato." The grape is Brachetto, and it's from around the Piedmont town of Aqui (thus "bra-KET-toe DA-kwee") and its fruit aromas tend more toward strawberries and raspberries, but the sweetness and alcohol and fizziness are very similar to the Moscato. This wine is beautiful in the glass during the holidays, being a translucent ruby red. If you've had a heavy meal and no one's in the mood for dessert, pull this one out of the refrigerator and ask confidently, "How about a glass of Brachetto?" It will be a revelation to your guests and earn you great style points.

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