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Sparkling Red

My mom and I had a wonderful - local - sparkling red wine in Rome a few months ago - and I know I will never find anything like it here, but thought I would give it a shot. It was sparkling - and red - although I cannot remember which grape. It was slightly sweet - but not very. Sooooo good. Any ideas? ( I have tried The Black Chook sparkling shiraz - which is good.)

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  1. Could have been a Lambrusco. Even if it wasn't, that's the sparkling Italian red you're most likely to find in North America.

    1. If it were local while in Roma, it wasn't Lambrusco--that's from Emilia Romagna. Ergo, it wasn't Brachetto, which is from Piedmonte.

      Roma is in the center of Lazio. The local DOC wines that are made in frizzante (sparkling) style are the Cesanese wines (Piglio, Affile, Olevano Romano) and Circeo.

      1. One that has been a hit with myself and all of my wine drinking pals~ Paringa Sparkling Shiraz. Very festive, perfect for the holidays!

        3 Replies
        1. re: washingtonred

          I think that one is great too! Much better price too than some of the other sparkling Shiraz...

          1. re: jcoz23

            The other day I had Omni Sparkling Shiraz -- liked it very much. It's $11.99 at Total Wine in Northern Virginia.

            1. re: chriscatva

              I have had that one too - very good!

        2. Aliancia (not sure of the spelling) makes a Portuguese Sparkling Red. Very enjoyable (in my opinion).

          1. I wonder if maybe it was a wine that was not local? I have seen many places in Rome serve Brachetto even though it is not from the area. Have you tried Rosa Regale? Not the best Brachetto but widely available...

              1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

                It was dry - but maybe a little sweet taste to it.

                1. re: mego1210

                  It may have been Bonarda Frizzante from Oltrepo Pavese, it's quite popular in North Central and Central Italy

              2. You should email the staff at Wine Expo in west LA. They've got a great assortment of fizzy red & rose wines both dry & off-dry: perfect for non-wine drinkers who want something with a heavier body than prosecco, cava or American sparklers.

                1. I'm drawing a blank on the name, but as I recall in the spring and early summer there's a sparkling red that the Romans drink. The name sounds like the Italian word for strawberry . . . that's it - fragolino.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bropaul

                    You are so right! It definitely had a strawberry taste to it. Any suggestions on something similar?

                    1. re: mego1210

                      It wasn't even that common in Rome, when I lived there, so I doubt you would find it here. You might get a vaguely similar experience by mixing some strawberries with a light Lambrusco. I did a Google search and turned up some interesting information. There's an EU regulation that has restricted the production of fragolino to private consumption. There are apparently products on the market and available in the US which are called fragolino, but apparently give the strawberry taste to the wine by using chemical essences.

                      1. re: mego1210

                        Perhaps similar. There's a Chilean Sparkler infused with strawberries from Patagonia. Name is Fresita - comes in normal 750ml bottles and also a 4* 187ml pack.

                    2. Are you sure it was local? Gragnano, from Campania (usually produced near Sorrento), is a slightly sweet and very fizzy red wine. It pairs really well with tomato-based dishes. Serve it slightly chilled and it's a really nice warm weather wine.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: oolah

                        Is Gragnano the name of it - or the type of wine? Any suggestions on labels I should try?

                        1. re: mego1210

                          Gragnano is a type of wine (and also the name of the town it comes from).

                          It's not at all a fancy wine and retails for around $10-13, so anything you can get your hands on is probably worth a try. In the states, I've had I Normanni before and enjoyed it with food. (I wouldn't drink it without a meal, but I'd say that's true of most Italian wines for me).

                          1. re: mego1210

                            I'd like to suggest you find the name of the restaurant somehow, and email or fax them.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              didn't have it at a restauarant. got it at a local market in Rome. unfortunately I could never remember the name of the market.

                              1. re: mego1210

                                Dang. You have mentioned a strawberry flavor, and another has mentioned Brachetto d'Acqui, a strawberry-ish, sparkling red. It's lovely. Try it, and see if it
                                comes close. About $16.

                                1. re: mego1210

                                  What neighborhood in Rome? Not that knowing the name would help much, you'd need to know the vendor. My money is still on fragolino.

                          2. OK, I have a bunch of ideas now!

                            But first, a few questions:
                            Was it fizzy (frizzante) or full-out sparkling?
                            Was it red (rosso) or rose (rosato)?
                            A little sweet (amabile)? Is that right? Not sweet (dolce), right? And not dry (secco)?
                            Was it made very close to Rome, close to Rome, or in the general region of Lazio?
                            Any idea at all of the area where it was made?
                            Would you know the name if I said it to you?

                            There are about 60 wines that fit the category of red, frizzante or sparkling, wines made in the area around Rome in Lazio, just so you know. Your answers to the questions above
                            will help narrow it down.

                            Just to cut to the chase, the most famous red sparkling wine from the hills just north of Rome (Colli della Sabina) is the Colli Della Sabina Rosso Frizzante Amabile.
                            Translation: from the Sabine hills, red, slightly sparkling, slightly sweet.

                            But I have other ideas if that's not it.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              i would say fizzy - maybe sparkling - can't really remember :(
                              definitely red - not rose
                              it was a little sweet
                              don't know where it was made - cannot remember the name - and got it from a local market in Rome (doesn't mean it was made there)
                              i do remember that the label had like a red and white check to it - i think

                              1. re: mego1210

                                Well, that makes it tough. There's not much to go on.

                                >>>and got it from a local market in Rome (doesn't mean it was made there)
                                But you did say that you were told it was made around Rome, right? That it
                                was a local wine, yes?

                            2. Thanks to all for great ideas - I will check some of those out and let you know.

                              1. You may be referring to a Russian variety of sparkling from the Rostov Region of Russia. It's an old 1700 century winery called Tsimlanskoye. Apparently it's also rated quite highly in the world

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kvietnievskaya

                                  Since it was purchased in Rome (Italy), and the OP thought it was local -- probably wasn't, but it *was* probably Italian in origin . . . Не думаю

                                2. The Colli della Sabina DOC includes a sparkling red made from Sangiovese and Montepulciano.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Also a good guess, but since the OP was last on Chowhound in 2009, I am not sure she will benefit . . .

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      Not to mention that the wine would be hard to find even in Rome. That one market stall might well be the only place to get it other than direct from a winery. When I lived there, I encountered a lot of old-school local wines that I'd see only one place, e.g. an off-dry, low-alcohol Fiorano that I saw only in the Fiorano supermarket.