In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorablefrom the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10 unless noted otherwise.
I came across a couple of bottles of Lambrusco a while ago, and while I don’t remember where I got them or how much I paid for them, I do remember thinking they were under $10 and, therefore, perfect fodder for the blog. (Lambrusco, just so you know, is a soft wine whether red or white – and it has a very slight effervescence to it.) So without further ado, here you go…Lambrusco.
Lambrusco Dell’Emilia Bianco Dolce White Lambrusco Le Grotte; Product of Italy. Alcohol 8% by Volume.
On the Label: “Lambrusco is one of the best selling wines in the world. It is a unique product. White Lambrusco, fruity and fresh, obtained through the white vinification of Lambrusco grapes and the natural fermentation process, this wine comes from one of the oldest grape varieties grown in “Emilia Romagna”, the gourmet region of Italy. Lambrusco Bianco Le Grotte is a soft white wine, light and refreshing and ideal for any occasion. Lambrusco should be served well chilled and refrigerated after opening.”
My Take: Seriously? Okay, at first I was charmed with the idea of getting two bottles of Lambrusco, one white, one red. Because one of the first places Hubby took me to dinner was at The Old Spaghetti Factory in San Diego, and he always ordered a bottle of Lambrusco just to watch the waiters tug at the cork, since it was like a Champagne cork, only not as well-behaved. Which means it takes some serious muscle. But…this wine didn’t live up to my hopes. It had a flavor somewhere between aluminum and sour, unripe grapefruit. It wasn’t bad enough for both of us to agree to pour it down the drain, but I couldn’t drink it. Hubby did. I just sipped, shuddered, and turned to whatever else we had open.
My Rating: ~ Undrinkable ~ As you probably suspected. I can’t think of anyone who would like this wine, as it had a tinny, gag-inducing (in me, not the hubs) flavor that was hard to get rid of. Buy at your own risk.
Reggiano Lambrusco Rosso Dolce Consorzio Vini Reggiani – Reggio Emilia, Product of Italy Alcohol 8.5% by Volume
On the Label: Lambrusco is one of the best selling wines in the world. It is a unique product, slightly soft red wine, fruity and fresh. Obtained througha natural and traditional fermentation process, Lambrusco is one of the oldest grape varieties, grown in “Emilia Romagna”, the gourmet region of Italy. Lambrusco “Le Grotte” is a ruby red wine, with violet scents. The bouquet is delicate and intense, with notes of fresh strawberries, cherries and raspberries. Lambrusco is a pleasant, well balanced refreshing wine. It is an ideal wine for parties, barbecues or even Italian Pizza. Lambrusco should be served well chilled and refrigerated after opening.”
My Take: Okay. So, my experience with Lambrusco, until this tasting, was with Reunite Lambrusco. (Remember the tag line, “Reunite on ice, that’s nice”? Pronounced ReeYouNeeTee, btw.) Anyway, Reunite Lambrusco is better. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t relieved when THIS wine proved to be adequate to the dinner I had planned – one of sausage, veggies and a side of pasta. It wasn’t a wine I was willing to pour down the drain – a total relief after the white.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ But if you want to try a slightly sparkling red wine, I highly suggest you try the Reunite Lambrusco.
Don’t let my experience with Lambrusco put you off the wine, however. There are also Secco Lambruscos – dry ones – that might be better in both the red and white versions. If you find one, let me know, okay?
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?
My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!
That’s been my take on Lambrusco in general, Christine. Once upon a time, the only wine I drank was Riunite Lambrusco. After I was introduced to “real” wine, I let it go and never looked back, LOL. It actually still makes a decent base for sangria, but i usually use a good Merlot or Cabernet.
Paula, Lambrusco (Reunite) has a soft spot in my heart. BUT – I rarely drink it any more. I’m saving up for a trip to Italy, however. Once I’m there I’ll have to search out some of the good stuff!
In the area around Modena, Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Bologna…that’s all you will get when you ask for “a glass of Lambusco.” 🙂 It will never be bianco (white) or sweet/dolce.
However, for dessert or instead of dessert they might offer you a ‘Lambrusco Amabile’ which is semisweet but it will also have at least 11% (!) alcohol – never 8% or 8.5%! 🙂 Note: This may be an entirely different story in other parts of Italy.
I’ve only been to Rome – spent one of the most wonderful weeks there, about ten years ago. Want to go back SO bad!
I’ve actually never had this wine and only vaguely remember the commercials. Interesting that it’s the best selling wine in the world.
Maria, I think you can probably pass. For me at 18 when I first had it, it was a good choice – went really well with spaghetti at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Plus I was newly in love, so there’s that, lol!
When I first had it, I was 18, newly in love – the wine was just slightly fizzy and slightly sweet, and it went beautifully with spaghetti. I think maybe I should leave this wine in my memory!
LOL – too funny. The program had lost my previous reply so I did it again…sigh…
Hmm. With the Labrusco at 8% to 8.5% ABV, I might as well just have a Pelligrino and save on cab fare!
Yep – I totally agree. Or, have a good Pinot or a Zin instead!
Authentic (secco, red, frizzante) Lambrusco has at least 11% alcohol. By the way, that’s all you’ve to look for if you want to search out “the real stuff.” 🙂
Where do you suggest finding real, authentic Lambrusco in the US?
Sharon, Lambrusco is actually a dry (secco) red wine with a few bubbles (frizzante) and consumed in Emiia Romagna with some of the finest foods (Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, etc.) of the world. Almost all of the export versions (less than 11% alcohol) have really very little in common with authentic Lambrusco.
Christine, you’re right, it’s still quite difficult to find real Lambrusco (secco: dry/off-dry: 0-15 g/l RS; RS depends on the personal style of the producer and the type of Lambrusco grape variety) throughout the USA. We believe this will slowly but surely change over the next 5 years as more and more wine drinkers discover that drier wines are a much better food match. Here’s a list of some of the best: http://www.lambruscoday.org/lambrusco-brands.html > click on ‘authentic’.
Is it a question of importing the wine? Because I almost never see Lambrusco in the grocery stores. If a varietal wants to become popular here, it has to make it into the big grocery stores. If it’s only a “wine store” wine, then it will never sell big.
In my opinion.
Thanks for stopping by!
It’s actually a questions of consumer demand. Lots of real Lambrusco is now being imported but grocery stores and liquor stores stock only what ‘flies off their shelves.”
Good news: More and more restauants are – finally – staring to pour real (secco, red (white is only made for export), frizzante, min. 11% alc.) Lambrusco by the glass. In turn this will have an impact on consumer demand. I agree, it has to get into grocery stores to become a known type of wine and a big seller.
Wow, that site is SERIOUS about Lambrusco! Loads of information there, thanks!
Had no idea there was even white Lambrusco. Guess it’s good I didn’t know since your experience was horrendous, lol.
I was very surprised to find the white Lambrusco, too, Isis! It’s a good thing I usually prefer red wines.
I wish I liked wine so I could try some of your suggestions. : )
I’ve never had Lambrusco, period. Not planning to now.
I did recently drink a wine I hadn’t tried before that was excellent. It was a Nero d’Avola. Are you familiar with that variety?
Julie, I am not familiar with a Nero d’Avola. I’m guessing it was Italian?