100% Muscat à Petits Grains. Moscato d'Asti is the soul of Bera, and Bera is part of the heart of Moscato d'Asti, having been the first estate in this zone of Canelli to bottle its own in 1964. It is half of the 12-hectare estate's annual production.
A few factors distinguish the Bera approach, starting with the fact that they feel strongly that the quality of their wine hinges absolutely on quality work in the vineyard (not the average outlook in the world of commercial Moscato d'Asti production). The vines average 40 years old and consist of only the finest sub-variety of Muscat, known as Petits Grains. The farming has been chemical-free for its entire history but is also now certified-organic; the growing is natural in every way, with an emphasis on biodiversity, fostered by wild, unseeded cover crops of herbs, flowers and légumes between the rows. The exposure of the steep slopes is south-southeast, so the grapes can be fully ripened, while also maintaining freshness, thanks to notably calcareous soils and a strong winds that temper the heat and keep the fruit healthy. Yields are quite low, and harvest is by hand, with rigorous sorting in the vineyard, into small bins. The high ripeness combined with high acidity is vital to the character of this wine.
Fermentation takes place spontaneously with native yeasts--Bera is the only Moscato d'Asti maker who ferments naturally---and without temperature control or sulfur. The wine is not sterile-filtered like most Moscato d'Asti base wine at this stage; rather, the lees are gently "cleaned" and put back into the wine, which is then put "to sleep" in tank at cold temperature. In small batches, the wine is "awakened" by a gentle raising of the temperature, which kicks off the secondary fermentation. That process is stopped by dropping the temperature when the wine reaches the appropriate 5.5% alcohol level. At this point, the wine is gently filtered, lightly sulfured (the DOCG does not allow zero sulfur) and put back to sleep, this time in a pressurized tank, where it settles for another 10-15 days before bottling. The first bottling takes place in December and the last of usually four to five bottlings happens in late summer. The later the wine is bottled, the longer the lees contact, so there are even subtle differences, and increasing depth, over the course of the same vintage; the ongoing and extended lees contact is unique in Moscato d'Asti. The end result of the unique circumstances and choices at Bera is an atypical Moscato: an actually vinous version of the wine, with complexity of flavor, a richness of texture and a more fragile bubble.