The Next Big Thing...

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In wine – as with much in life - the next big thing is often the same big thing as in years past. Sherry, Rose, and Riesling are periodically trotted-out by the press to remind us that we’re missing something special; previously seen as overly sweet and passé, they are gradually finding wider appreciation. Our candidate for rehabilitation is Lambrusco, known to most of us as a sort of “Frankenstein Wine,” where co-operatives make the wine in industrial quantities.  The addition of up-to 15% of rich, dark, and syrupy must of Ancellotta grapes is par for the course.  In order to protect the resulting wine, heavy amounts of sulfur are used, along with sterile filtration and pasteurization; producers also filter color and tannin from the wines to make whites from the Lambrusco varieties.  These soda-sweet wines are destined for large glasses with ice, and are not a fair representation of the region.

 Americans are demanding better and more traditional wines from Europe, so why should we have to be content to drink bubble-gum-flavored Lambrusco pumped up with sugar and additives?  The good news is that we don’t.  There are still a handful of producers in Emilia-Romagna making exciting sparkling wines from indigenous grape varieties that offer complexity and a lot of drinking pleasure.   Real Lambrusco is born out of the necessity of having wine to pair with rich charcuterie like Mortadella, and the rich egg-based pastas of the region.  These wines are seldom sweet, and should have a refreshing acidity.  Some are light and easy to drink, while others have a deep color and earthy tannins.  Lambrusco ranges from lightly effervescent to full-on bubbly, and the more artisanal varieties re-ferment naturally in the bottle.  As spring arrives, these will be great for anything from sunny picnics to any kind of barbeque.

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Cà de Noci 2008 Bianco Frizzante Querciole

This is a fantastic sparkling wine for those in search of something new. It is made from the uncommon Spergola grape variety from the Emilia-Romagna region in northeast Italy. This wine is very food friendly with floral and citrus aromas, and also has a golden rich hue from several days of maceration with the grape skins.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $16.99

Cà de Noci 2008 Rosso Frizzante Sottobosco

A unique and delicious sparkling red made from Grasparosso, Malbo Gentile, Montericco and Sgavetta. Woodsy, brambly dark fruits and accelerating tannins with a hint of anise. Finishes absolutely dry and fresh. A very interesting natural sparkling wine, we urge you to try it! CP
On a hot summer day this makes me think of winter because I want this wine with rich Emilian food. It's very dry with a dense and intensely creamy texture, chalky tannin, dried apple and smoke on the nose along with some herbs — fennel, anise. JW

A Lambrusco in everything but name, Ca de Noci is located in a part of Reggio Emilia that is not covered by a DOC.  This is a shame, because this bold, dry, sparkling red wine surpasses the quality of all but a few DOC Lambrusco makers.  One of the reasons for the high quality is that the secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, which instills more complex aromas and flavors.  Many Lambrusco producers introduce CO2 to a vat to make their wines fizzy, which can producer very good wine, but will never produce the most soulful wines.  The flavors in Sottobosco are intense, earthy, and rustic, and with charcuterie may change the way that you think about Lambrusco.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

Donati 2010 Lambrusco Frizzante

The Donati estate is a tiny provider of amazing natural wines influenced by organic and bio-dynamic principles.  The Lambrusco is made completely without intervention, and not even temperature control is used in the production.  Fermentation finished in bottle, resulting in a refreshing wine that can be drunk cool with pizza or other rich foods like Parma's famous fried Gnocco.

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

Graziano, Vittorio NV Emilia Bianco "Ripa Del Bucamante"

Vittoria Graziano is a staunch traditionalist, whose wines are a testament to the complexity that Emilian wines can achieve.  This is a sparkling white wine made of the local variety of Trebbiano, plus Sauvignon Blanc.  The grapes begin fermenting in tanks, and then are transferred to bottle to achieve effervescence.   We found this wine to have a delicious lemony-herbal character, and would be quick to drink it with fish or light pastas.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $24.99

Graziano, Vittorio Emilia Lambrusco "Fontana dei Boschi"

Vittorio Graziano – widely known as one of the true artisans in the region — makes Lambrusco the old fashioned way without additives, and with the fermentation finishing in bottle, which gives the wine a complex and deeply savory quality that we have not seen in most Lambrusco.  Vittorio’s wine is serious, and has both tannic structure and minerality that speak of tradition and non-intervention in the cellar.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

Rota 2011 Lambrusco di Castellazzo "27"

When we tasted this, we instantly thought that we had a very traditional Lambrusco in our glasses, and when we saw the pricing we knew that we had a fantastic deal.  The Rota boasts a long fermentation of organic grapes, and uses a long cold resting time instead of chemicals to stabilize the wine.  Super savory, rich without weight, very dry, this bottle is a fantastic example of the deep plum and dark earth flavors that Lambrusco is capable of, and is a completely appropriate match to baked pastas.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $12.99

Saetti, Vigneto 2010 Rosato dell 'Emilia IGT

Luciano Saetti is an outspoken critic of sulfur use in wine-making, and insists that fresh flavors can be preserved by careful work in the cellar without added chemicals.  His delicious Rosato is a testament to his philosophy.  The wine is made of the same Salamino di Santa Croce grape as his Lambrusco, but instead of the deep color associated with Salamino, there is a bright ruby tone from a short maceration time.  Re-fermentation naturally occurs in the bottle, and gives the wine a refreshing bead of carbonation.  This Lambrusco has pretty violet and fresh berry fruit flavors, and would be a welcome addition to any picnic.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $16.49

Saetti, Vignetoo 2010 Lambrusco Salamino di S.Croce

Luciano Saetti drives a shiny red wagon depicting the following words, "Solfiti? No grazie!" (Sulfur? No thank you). This is 100% Lambrusco di Salamino made in the metodo ancestrale style. Vines are almost 50 years old, planted on sand, lime and clay, and are tended organically. Dry, sturdy tannins, bright acidity and made for food. A great price for structured and delicious fizz. PG

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $16.99

Vezzelli, Francesco 2011 Lambrusco di Sorbara

“Lambrusco di Sorba” is both a DOC, and the name for a grape variety that produces lighter colored Lambrushci with mouth-watering acidity.  In order to qualify for the DOC one must only use 60 percent of the Sorba grape, but this bottle uses 100 percent.  Perhaps that is why Vezzelli’s wine is incredibly refreshing, and packs an amazing amount of cranberry-tart fruit into a wine with a deceivingly light hue.   JR

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $14.99