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May 22, 2019
For the Love of Lambrusco - Alberici 'La Fogarina'
When it comes to stocking wherever it is that you keep your alcohol, there has been a lot to keep up with this year. In case you haven’t heard, the New York Times declared that the Aperol Spritz is out, canned sparkling is the official drink of festival season 2019, and P!nk, the one with the exclamation point, is making wine (and no, it’s not rosé). But we need to talk to you about one more thing - Lambrusco.
Lambrusco got a bad rep in the States during the 70s and 80s as the bubbly, hangover inducing, near Manischewitz-level of super sweet wine. But like a lot of the traditional Italian recipes we have borrowed, fried and re-packaged, real Lambrusco is a far cry from where it wound up by the early aughts. Traditionally made Lambruscos are typically vinified Metodo Classico, fermented first in steel tanks and then again in the bottle. The resulting wines are more polished; they are dry and fizzy, acidic and dark hued. Served best with a chill, these classic Lambruscos have all of the refreshing qualities of dry rosé and sparkling whites with all of the tannins of your favorite reds, making it the perfect pair to your backyard BBQ and charcuterie filled cheese plates.
Looking for great Lambrusco? Meet the Alberici’s. The Alberici’s 10 hectares of vines grow on the Po River floodplains of Reggio Emilia, in a small village just outside of Gualtieri. Well-kept rows of Lambrusco, Chardonnay and Fogarina cover the estate, waiting to be crafted into delicious frizzante wines by Amilcare and his wife Daniela. From pruning to cellar work, everything is done naturally on the vineyard - the couple’s shared passion for the land and cycle of life guide their holistic approach to winemaking. Amilcare learned everything he knows from his father Dino, who he joined in the fields and cellar from a young age, and today, he is passing down that knowledge to his two children, Arianna and Alessio, who represent the third generation to steward the land.
Alberici NV ‘La Fogarina’ Lambrusco dell’Emilia Rosso IGP
So if we can still instill one more takeaway of Summer 2019 (before it stops raining and officially starts in Chicago), it’s that Lambrusco can be good, and that good stuff can be great, and Alberici’s Fogarina is really, really fantastic. The Alberici’s La Fogarina is 100% Fogarina, an ancient, once popular grapevine of Reggio Emilia that was nearly extinct in the region before being resuscitated by the Alberici family. Amilcare uses the Classico method for La Fogarina; the wine rests in tank from harvest until February or March of the following year, then goes through a slow, natural fermentation in the bottle.
This deep-hued wine makes you feel like every mediocre to bad Lambrusco you’ve had was a lie. Dry with just enough of fizz, La Fogarina shows notes of tart currant, dark berry and a touch of cinnamon, with subtle vegatal qualities in juxtaposition. It tastes like the best boozy rhubarb-berry pie you never have had. BBQs, charcuterie, pasta and pizza - we want to drink this wine all the time.
La Fogarina with some bitters and vermouth? Sounds like we have a new Spritz for the people.