Monday, January 20, 2014

Not your Dad's Lambrusco.....

The 1970's were (in)famous for a myriad of things.  Disco, The Godfather, Star Wars, the gas crisis, Tricky Dick and of course, sweet, fizzy, Lambrusco drunk from plastic tumblers.  Such became the enduring legacy of one of Italy's simple pleasures. While refrains from "Stayin' Alive" wailed, Lambrusco was chugged without so much as a thought. It was grown up soda. 
Today Lambrusco is enjoying a renaissance. A steady stream of young, energetic proprietors like Mattia Montanari are revitalizing this once ubiquitous "checkered table-clothed pizza wine" into delicious, well made dry wines that compliment a wide array of foods.
Lambrusco originates mainly from the province of Emilia-Romagna although one production area lies within Lombardy. Like many Italian wines, Lambrusco is both the name of a grape and a wine.  Crafted to be  slightly sparkling,  what the Italians call "frizzante", Lambrusco is refreshing and easy to drink, especially when slightly chilled.
The 2012 Ca' Montanari "Opera 02" Lambrusco is a great example of Lambrusco.  Made from 85% Lambrusco Grasparossa and 15% Salamino,  the wine is vinified dry and is pleasantly "frizzante".  The core of the wine is a vibrant bright purple color.  On the nose, the wine exhibits pretty lilac and violet notes along with bright berry tones.  Chilled for about 45 minutes, it was paired with cheeses, prosciutto, olives and other assorted antipasti.  The effervescence clears the palate nicely, and the lively fruit makes for a bright contrast to the fatty meatier components of the appetizers.  "Opera02" finishes crisp and dry with a refreshing "burst" from the bubbles that invites another sip.  Just wonderful and about as far away from your Archie Bunker watching Father's Lambrusco as one can get.  88 points, about $14.

~ "Opera02" is an avant garde project by producer Ca' Montanari ~
Cin Cin!


  1. John, how interesting! I will definite try this, something I probably would not have!

  2. That's what we're here for! :) let me know when you do.

  3. Great article. Since staying at Agriturismo Opera02 last year, we have been huge fans of their lambrusco. Fortunately we were able to find it for sale locally in Sacramento, CA. I consider this to be one of the great undiscovered wines of the world. As a wine snob I would never have tried a lambrusco before traveling to Emilia Romagna and experiencing this delightful wine. Thanks for the article!

  4. Hey Sacramento,

    Thanks for commenting. A friend turned me onto to "real" Lambrusco a while back and I've been a fan since. Lower in alcohol, and refreshing. Very versatile. You can't go wrong.