Normally this is the part of the week when I go on a bit about production techniques, grapes, all the rest of it. But I think the big thing about Lambrusco is that it’s more about dispelling the myth that’s its horrible cheap stuff. It isn’t, or at least it isn’t anymore.
But why listen to me? Why don’t we let the professionals tell us the story? Alice Kilgarriff-Vighi (who I recently had the pleasure of meeting) and Emma Kahan started a Lambrusco importing business (http://www.kilgarriffandkahan.co.uk) in the UK after falling in love with the stuff during lots of time spent over in Emilia Romagna. They’re now at the forefront of the UK resurgence of Lambrusco.
In their own words, this is why we should be flocking back to Lambrusco:
“Lambrusco has long been enjoyed in Emilia, accompanying plates of fresh lasagne, tortelli verdi and cured ham. Made using the grapes of one of the oldest known vines in existence – the vinis silvestris (literally, wild vine), this deliciously dry wine has been a staple on Emilian tables for millennia, and is an essential part of their enogastronomical heritage.
However, Lambrusco’s reputation has been seriously tarnished outside its native home by the low quality, sickly-sweet, fizzy wine that was mass-produced from the 1950s onwards and came to dominate the market. The region’s wine consortia took notice of this and in 1994 began to crack down on bad practice, encouraging quality producers to embrace the slower but ultimately much more successful winemaking practices from which the real artisans, such as our producers Lini 910 and Fattoria Moretto, never strayed. So, a combination of going back to basics in Lambrusco production, and the long memory of a bad wine, meant that respectable, artisanal Lambrusco has been largely absent from the British wine market. Until now.”
There you go then, bring it on!
Other Posts in NWTW Week 46: