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A Sparkler with a Di≠ erence A sti is a distinct Italian sparkling wine, made quickly and cleanly to ensure freshness of fruit. This harvest, THE TASTING PANEL visited Martini’s Santo Stefano Belbo winery, in the heart of Asti in the Piedmont region, to see how the sparkler is made. The trick to Asti is a refi ned process optimizing speed and freshness. The Martini winery is surrounded by the region’s Moscato vineyards, to ensure grapes come from the vines to be pressed as quickly as possible. Immediately after crush, the must is “fast-fi ned,” pushing sediment to the top and leaving liquid at the bottom. A two-hour fi ltering process follows. The resulting “clean” must is stored at zero degrees Celsius (freezing) to maintain freshness. Juice can be stored for up to a year at this temperature. Martini’s Master Blender and his wine making team then make a blend refl ective of the house style. The blend is placed in pressure tanks, an innovation Martini brought to market in 1895, where secondary fermentation adds effervescence to create a low-alcohol sparkler. (The single-process fermentation differs from that used in Champagne, where wine is produced and then placed in the bottle for secondary fermentation and extended aging.) The wine is then fi ltered again and bottled, while maintain- ing pressure. Constant pressurization protects the “spumante” (sparkle) and delivers a fi nished bottle with freshness and fl avor of the grape intact. Martini Asti (SRP $13.99) is a drink of celebration and occasion worldwide, and the top Moscato-based sparkling wine. And Martini is going to leverage the success of the sweet sparkler here in the U.S. with the launch of a Moscato d’Asti still wine in April 2011. —Ben Narasin Martini Asti is imported by Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. THE TASTING PANEL’s Ben Narasin gets the skinny on sparkling Asti, in Asti. Throwing a Punch (Party) Dave Wondrich. S ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ pirits expert Dave Wondrich has launched his new book, PUNCH: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. This kick off to a nationwide tour of book parties was held at The Drawing Room in Chicago, where Chief Mixologist Charles Joly served some of Dave’s favorite punches. Pernod Ricard USA was on hand to help celebrate. MARTELL COGNAC PUNCH ROYAL Peels of 3 lemons, each cut in a ½-inch wide spiral 6 oz. superfi ne sugar 6 oz. fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice 25 oz. Martell VSOP cognac 12 oz. Sandeman Founder’s Reserve port 24 oz. cold water Nutmeg 949-228-6896 december 2010 / the tasting panel / 19 PHOTO: MARGHERITA BORSANO FOR MARTINI PHOTO: COURTESY OF PERNOD RICARD USA

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