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Feb 15, 2004 08:19 PM

know a good lambrusco?

  • m

I've had a good lambrusco (fizzy red wine from Italy) paired with soppresata, but now I can't remember it, and the few liquor stores I've tried only seem to know about the Reunite style.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

(I'm in NYC if you happen to know a good place to go for it)

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  1. After having the dry version of lambrusco that is so common in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, I tried in vain to find it in the US. When I came upon a bottle of lambrusco with a cork rather than the screw-top, I thought I had hit pay dirt. No such luck. While it was better than the screw bottle stuff, it still was sweet. I have no idea why it's so difficult to get in the US, but I would have to think it's available somewhere in the metro NY area.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mistermike

      I have some recent experience with "dry" style Lambruscos, at ~11% alcohol, compared to the "conventional" Lambruscos at 7.5-8%.

      My favorite was the Medici Ermete "Concerto," ($15-18) which had fruit, good body and moderate acidity. It always surprises me how little tannin there is or how mild it is given the deep purple black of this style of wine. (The color reminds me of Cahors.)

      Second was Ca' de' Medici "Terra Calda," ($10), whose main flaw was a slight non-tannic bitterness that subsided after the first few mouthfuls. Also dry, this one had a bit more fruitiness than the Concerto.

      Third was Barbolini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro ($11). Main flaw was a slight metallic taste. Also dry.

      These two would show well with food, I think, including salume, as you mention. The Concerto is good enough to be drunk on its own as an aperitif.

      I also tried two sweet versions.

      Ca' de' Medici Lambrusco Frizzante Rosso Dolce ($8) was about 7.5% alcohol and not too sweet, but also a little dank. It's possible that it was slightly corked, as the first of the two bottles that I purchased was badly corked.

      Riunite. ($5). Nothing wrong with this except it's boring. Sweet. Nothing going on.

      In contrast with some of the Moscatos d'Asti that I have been drinking lately, which can exhibit complex floral and white fruit notes, these sweet Lambruscos aren't that interesting.

      I live in the SF Bay Area, but I can't imagine you wouldn't be able to find some of these in NYC.

      1. re: ericf

        Thank you so much--that's the best write-up I've been able to find for a while. Let's hope NY has some of them.

        1. re: maya

          Sure, sure. If you find something you like, let us know!

          1. re: maya

            Sure, sure. If you find something you like, let us know!

            1. re: maya

              Astor Wines has a couple, including the one favored by one of the previous posters.

            2. re: ericf

              Wow, Eric, can't believe you've tried that many lambruscos locally. The Barbolini is imported by a friend of mine, and it's been a couple years since I've tasted it myself. Here's a link to the importer's notes - I liked this line, "You haven't lived until you've seen purple foam in your glass".



              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Ha-ha, I guess it was a little obsessive. The Concerto came from Solano Cellars, Barbolini from Amphora, and the Ca' De' Medicis from K&L. Riunite from Safeway. I first got interested because of a positive notice for the Barbolini in the LA Times a few months ago. I'm going to try it again when the weather warms up for grilling.

          2. I love Riunite Lambrusco, but there is another wine that is quite a few notches better than the Riunite, try Ca'De' Medici Cubista Red Wine, I can only find it at Binny's or World Market, it is absolutely delicious....Sells out right away so if you find it pick up a few bottles averages about $9.99 a bottle.

            1 Reply
            1. I have had success with the Lini Lambruscos which I was able to get in NYC. Still nursing my last 2 bottles from a case this past year. I think Astor Wine and Spirits stock it now.

              1 Reply
              1. re: a81

                I second the recommendation on Lini Lambrusco!

              2. NYTimes just did a lambrusco article...I realized this thread is 5 yrs old but lots of NYC sources are mentioned for those's the link...

                here's the article:

                AUGUST 25, 2009, 9:02 AM
                Case Study | Lambrusco = Summer

                By TOBY CECCHINI
                Michael Falco for The New York Times Lambrusco wines, a dry and sparkling red wine that is served well-chilled.
                T spirits columnist Toby Cecchini debuts Case Study, his new bimonthly posting on all things alcoholic.

                Five years ago, when a trip to Venice made me aware of the beauty and breadth of the well-made, serious Lambrusco wines of the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions of Italy, I felt almost duplicitous writing about it for T Living because so few were available here at the time — and virtually none outside of large cities except for sweet, large-production clunkers like Riunite that darkened the wine’s reputation in the ’70s.

                Happily enough, there has been a growing migration of quality Lambrusco to these shores over the past few years, and it is now possible to find a range of them in better shops. A sure sign that dry Lambrusco has finally superseded its tarnished image is its cheery presence on so many wine lists of late, like Andrew Carmellini’s Locanda Verde and Franny’s — something that would have been anathema to any self-respecting wine bar or restaurant a few years ago.

                A dry, sparkling red wine with a lacy purple froth, a light bitterness and intense, grinding tannins that are meant to cut through the fattiness of its region’s famous pork offerings, Lambrusco is served well-chilled, and so is a godsend in the summer, when simpler fare — especially grilled or cured meats — call for a similarly light-hearted wine. (Order a bottle of Grasparossa with the coppa di Testa at Roberta’s in Bushwick and you’ll see.) Low in alcohol but often huge in body, with a density that brings to mind concord grape juice, these are jovial, quintessential picnic wines, a role their gentle pricing only abets.

                Astor Wines in Manhattan now carries a full dozen, among which are several bottlings from the well-established firms of Medici Ermete and Cleto Chiarli, and two artisanal offerings from Lini, one of which is an unusual white Lambrusco. Heights Chateau in Brooklyn carries a smooth, fulsome version made by the Villa di Corlo from the grasparossa clone of the Lambrusco grape, while the newly opened Italian specialty shop Le Vigne on Greenwich Avenue has but one, a rustic biodynamic beauty from Cantina Ceci, whose mild, deep fizz buoys its brooding purple embrace. These are wines to buy without worry, drink (young) without scrutiny and enjoy immensely.

                Copyright 2009 The New York Times CompanyPrivacy 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018

                1. There are two that I've seen in the Maine market: one, the best, is Lini; the other is Villa di Corlo. Look for those, though the Lini is harder to find.