Spring is coming fast, and with it, a quickening of the pulse, those first outdoor dinners in Brooklyn back gardens… everything that reminds us life for the past few months was worth living after all. I felt like writing a quick post with that in mind, on something celebratory, light, refreshing. Today’s little update highlights a very celebratory wine: Lambrusco. A good wine for drinking while you anticipate the warm weather. Good for sipping while writing bad haikus. Also delicious with a platter of hard cheeses and salami.
A quick review: Lambrusco is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, in Modena (same region famous for its Parmesan cheese and prosciutto, and the appellation for balsamic vinegar), and is another wine that’s seen a resurgence in trendiness, as well as great strides in quality. Produced from the Lambrusco grape, this wine comes in red, white, or, occasionally, pink (as is the case with this rosato). It’s always frizzante, or slightly frothy, and generally has a very fruit-driven, juicy style that makes it approachable to a wide range of palates, although artisanal versions are also made, which are drier and have more depth and mineral notes. Great party wine.
So if you’re looking for a fun and no-frills bubbly, the non-vintage (NV) “Primarosa” rosato Lambrusco by Cantina Puianello is just the ticket. The grapes are harvested by hand, and the juice is run off the grapes quickly after they are crushed to produce a delightfully bright rosé pink, which stands out in the glass. Bouncy aromas of chilled red strawberries and cherries, with some slight violet floral notes. Nothing too serious here, just a great bottle to pop and enjoy with anyone and everyone, for $12.
With a totally different style of rosé the subject of my previous post, why not delve into another here? This wine is a frizzante style as well, meaning that it has some effervescence – in the manner of all Lambrusco wines from Emilia-Romagna in Italy. The producer, Lini Winery, was founded in the town of Correggio in 1910, and is gaining momentum across the United States as a known producer of fine sparkling wines. They strive to keep the philosophy and traditions of their forebears at the core of their wine-making; the outcome speaks for itself, because this just tastes great.
A rich salmon red in the glass, much darker than most other rosé wines I have tried. Strong cherry and cranberry aromas on the nose lead to some floral notes: lavender, lilac. Bold and fruity in the mouth, but light-bodied, with a zingy acidity to match the fizz. Totally surprising, completely delicious. We paired this with ribs roasted in a clay pot after being covered in home-made dry rub and slathered in BBQ sauce, home-made potato salad, and sautéed greens. $15.
What do you need when it is time to do battle with a huge platter of cold cuts? That’s right. You pour a glass of Lambrusco, a sparkling red wine made from the varietal of the same name in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Lambrusco is frothy, meant to be drunk young, and absolutely perfect for salami, pizza, or hearty meat sauce pasta dishes.
Although sparkling, Lambrusco is rarely made in the méthode Champenoise, but is instead created using the Charmat process, where a second fermentation is conducted in a pressurized tank. As a result of an inundation of cheap Lambrusco in the 1970’s, expectations for this wine are generally quite low. However, some artisan wines are produced, although they are hard to find. This particular bottling, the 2007 Medici Ermete Solo Reggiano “Le Tenute,” is one of those, showing a dry frizzante brimming with rich blackberry and floral notes on the nose, followed by more cherry and strawberry fruit and a distinct earthiness in the mouth, balanced to ripe tannins and beautiful acidity. Balanced, fun, and possessed of mild minerality, this wine finishes clean and bright. $14.