Lambrusco, the wine and the grape. both from the Emiglia-Romagna region of Italy, has suffered in reputation during the Parker years, but recently, a revival of sorts has taken place. True, much of the reason its reputation had suffered was because much of it was bad and overly sweet, but even now in its return to glory, they are still not Parker-style wines. With a bit of effervescence, they are not huge “fruit bombs” leaden with alcohol, wood and a distinctly “big” style. Instead, the resurgence of these wines has come with beautiful berry fruit tones, good acidity and a lingering lightness. Emiglia-Romagna, the home of cities like Bologna, Modena and Parma has always been more known for its food and it will rightfully remain that way, because these wines, which have been fashioned for that food are perfect partners. They complement and support the food rather than trying to upstage it. Yet, they are refreshing and delicious in their own right, especially when the sweetness has been tempered and they have been vinified to dryness.
Between the Lambruscos I recently enjoyed in Modena and the bunch that I had the great pleasure of tasting during the recent Mondo Lambrusco tasting at the International Culinary Center in NYC paired alongside food prepared by the likes of Michael White Cesare Casella and White’s mentor, Chef Valentino Marcattilii from Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy, I was impressed. These are delicious, extremely food friendly wines. Much like the Spanish wines being selected and imported by Gerry Dawes, these wines have individual personality and character, yet retain a sense of terroir and varietal integrity.