Sweet bubbles for fruity desserts | David Williams | Food

Alasia Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 2018 (from £7.59, Rannoch Scott; Butlers Wine Cellar)
No fruit is truly seasonal any more. But I still think of this time of year as strawberry season, still seek out pick-your-own places, still like to eat as many as possible whether they’re swimming in cream, whizzed into granita or suspended in clafoutis custard. A wine to have with strawberries in any or all of these combinations at this warm time of year would be sweet, relatively light and full of summery scents, all characteristics of the youthful Italian wine Mosato d’Asti. It’s made from muscat grapes in the hills around Asti in northwestern Italy. It’s barely wine at all: with around 5% alcohol, a gentle fizz and a sherbet-foamy sweetness, it’s closer to unfermented grape must and, in the case of Alasia, full of orange blossom, acacia flowers, apricot and gentle lemony freshness.

Brännland Just Cider, Sweden NV (£6, Scratting)
Other Moscato d’Asti to look out for include those produced by Elio Perrone, Michele Chiarlo and GD Vajra, all of which fit a wine trade friend’s description of moscato as ‘happy juice’. Just as happy and fun (and fruit dessert-friendly) is a moscato-style drink that isn’t a wine. As the people who showed it to me – Roddy Kane and Alistair Morrell, wine trade stalwarts now running Cider is Wine, dedicated to promoting fine cider – were keen to stress. Brännland Just Cider is made from 100% fresh apples (no apple concentrate, as you find in commercial cider). It’s made in a similar way to Moscato d’Asti with gentle bubbles, low-alcohol content (4.5% abv) and floral and stone fruity flavours – to which you can, naturally enough, add fresh, sweet red apple.

Framingham Noble Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand 2018 (£16.99, 37.5cl, Noel Young Wines)

Brännland also makes an even sweeter style of cider, Brännland Iscider NV (£37.50, 37.5cl, Bierhuis), inspired by a niche style of wine production known as ice wine. The fruit (apples or grapes) is frozen to concentrate the sugars, then fermented to create something tooth-janglingly sweet but, in the best examples, balanced with acidity to keep it from being cloying. These include Quebec’s Luduc Piedmonte Reserve Ice Cider (£34.99; 37.5cl, Selfridges) and Peller Vidal Icewine (2016 from Niagra; £38.50, 37.5cl, Great Western Wine) in Canada. Both match up with ice-cream and strawberry coulis, although my preference would be a plate of blue cheese. Another gorgeously light (9% abv) example from the other side of the world is the exotically fruity, gently honeyed Framingham Noble Riesling.

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