Sparkling, Dry Lambrusco

Sexy and misunderstood

Posted by Daniela DaSuta on January 2, 2016

It’s like a hipster, flannel-wearing cousin that you bring to a festive cocktail party, knowing perfectly well that he won’t mesh well with the vibe. He might chill broodingly in the corner, avoiding eye contact. Your glamorous friends will pull you aside after they’ve had a few drinks, eyebrows raised condescendingly: “Um, so what’s up with your cousin?”

In reality, your cousin is cool as shit, just a little misunderstood. Dress him up, and he might even be called sexy. Maybe your friends are the assholes.

Now translate this cousin into a wine: he’s dry, sparkling Lambrusco. This wine is not the mainstream sparkling rosé or Brachetto that everyone loves; it’s rich and dark with little to no perceptible sweetness (dosage, or wine with a bit of sugar, is often added at the end of secondary fermentation to counteract the high acid of sparklings; I am certain that this wine is no different, but it’s technically dry). Despite the sparkle, it doesn’t even translate into a celebratory wine; it’s an accessory to dinner or charcuterie. It’s inky, it’s sensual, it’s meaty.

Albinea Canali by Ottocentonero

Lambrusco has a bad name. From the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, the wine (made from a grape of the same name) was mass produced in the ‘70s and ‘80s and sold to the United States in a sweeter, still version. Due to their high demand and the grape’s tendency to produce high yields, the imported wines had a little complexity and Lambrusco’s reputation suffered.

It’s still trying to prove that it has versatility and finesse. In addition to being sold in many forms, from sparkling to still, rosé to red, sweet to dry, Lambrusco can definitely produce red fruit wines with great acidity, thanks to the colder climate of northern Italy. The higher acid content and approachable flavors mean that it’s a terrific companion to food. Emilia Romagna is known for its decadent salted porks and I think that Lambrusco, especially the sparkling version, would make an excellent marriage to the region’s Prosciutto di Parma. Imagine the crisp acidity and cleansing bubbles cutting through the fatty richness of the pork, getting your taste buds ready for another salty, gamey bite.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should probably show up with a bottle of this Lambrusco as your hot date the next time you’re invited over for a chill night with friends. Pick up a salty meat for extra points and prepare your group for a holy experience.

A Tercet to Sparkling Lambrusco:

Rich, sensual, glorious
Once notorious
I’m digging your victorious comeback

Be Uncommon.
Drink Uncommon.

—Daniela