Lambrusco also fits our theme of easy, fun and misunderstood wines.
Produced in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy, Lambrusco is made in several styles: white, red or pink with sweetness ranging from dry to very sweet. The latter style enjoyed great popularity here in the states during the 1970s, which clouds our impression of Lambrusco as only a sweet wine.
Dry Lambruscos are coveted in Italy and, until recently, were not exported. Thankfully, the rise in popularity of modern Italian cooking is opening doors to all things Italian, and we can finally enjoy some of Italy’s hidden gems.
A good dry Lambrusco should be dark red in color with lots of berry fruit and a nice fizz. Unlike Champagne, which is sparkling, Lambrusco is frizzante, bubbly, but not as bubbly as Champagne. This slight fizz is achieved through secondary fermentation before bottling. It is a style is reminiscent of ancient days when wines would ferment naturally in their wooden containers (amphorae) and have a slight fizz to them.
Emilio Medici is one of Lambrusco’s oldest producers and is leading the trend in exporting dry Lambrusco. Medici is also a follower of organic practices and one of the few Lambrusco producers who grows all of his own grapes. Lambrusco pairs well with nearly any food, although I particularly enjoy it as an aperitif, especially with cheese. It is also a wonderful treat on warm evenings, a great blend of rich flavors while still being refreshing.
Stores: Appellation Wines & Spirits $12.99 (156 10th Ave between 19th and 20th Streets), Vino $12.00 (121 E. 27th Street between Park Ave. and Lexington Ave.), K&D Wines and Spirits $13.99 (1366 Madison Ave. between 95th and 96th Street), New York Wine Exchange $13.99 (9 Beaver Street between Broadway and New Street), Chelsea Wine Vault $13.99 (75 9th Ave between 15th and 16th Streets), Harlem Vintage $14.99 (2235 Frederick Douglas Blvd between 120th and 121st Street)