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The Rise & Return of Lambrusco

(post, Anu Karwa)


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While you may cringe and remember it as the sparkling, sweet wine ala Riunite (on ice, as the ad cheerfully suggested), the comeback of Lambrusco is upon us.  And it’s highly welcome in its latest incarnation.   

These wines are made from the eponymous grape and hail from a lesser explored region of Italy, Emilia-Romagna, better known for its Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar.  Lambrusco is "frizzante," or semi-sparkling in style.  Jammy, vibrant flavors of strawberry and flowers are underpinned with a hint of rustic earth.  The wines range from simple sippers to more complex and interesting finds in a wide range of color from pale pink to cherry cola red.  However, good examples always have lively bubbles and refreshing acidity, making this wine remarkably food friendly.  Unlike the reputation that precedes it, classic Lambrusco finishes dry.  

Since it perfectly complements pizza, you don’t need an occasion to open up a bottle Lambrusco.  I predict a rise in the popularity of Lambrusco like its cousin the in-demand Prosecco, if we can get over Lambrusco’s less than serious US past.  The uplifting Lambrusco is sure to make you smile, and not just because it usually falls under the $16 mark.  

Wine shop owners may be reluctant to stock the wine until the stigma is erased, so you may have to look harder than usual to spot these.  Start your exploration with bottles from Medici Ermete and Ca’ De’ Medici, both well-known, top Lambrusco producers with a variety of offerings.