Barbolini "Lancillotto" Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
*Best Buy* Real Lambrusco is a rarity in this country, but here it is, purple hued, with just enough fizz to help cut through the fattiness of fine salume. It’s grapy and dry, with hints of anise and herbs that prevent it from being too simple.
Lambrusco is not part of the upper echelon of Italian wine. To begin with, it is not expensive. Also, it doesn't come from Tuscany or Piedmont or any of the well know wine-producing regions of Italy. It comes from Emilia-Romagna. And then there's the fact that it's red and sparking. Actually, foaming is closer to the truth. When you open a bottle of this 'boutique' Lambrusuco (Frasparossa is the particular type of the Lambrusco grape, and Castelvetro is the region from which it hails), it really does foam in your glass, a big purple expanse of bubbles. But then it settles down a bit and, in the presence of a big plate of pasta with meat sauce (Bolognese) or a pizza or even a ham and cheese sandwich, it can even become a little elegant, but mostly it's just plain delicious. The grapes are estate grown, and fermented into a dry red base wine; three or four times a year batches of the base wine are re-fermented in pressurized tanks to add sparkle. The wine is bottled in a Champagne-style bottle with a traditional sparkling wine cork. A wine to be drunk, not talked about.