- NV Venturini Bladini Quaranta Lambrusco Spumante Rosso, Reggiano, Italy – Product #1362619) $11.99 @ Costco, California.
Happy August and thanks for following us and letting us know you are enjoying these weekly posts. I am excited about this week’s wine find from Costco, and happy to be sharing this with you.
Many wine consumers wrongly assume that Lambrusco (and other Italian sparkling wine styles) are sweet. Wine author Jancis Robinson laments “Lambrusco is the most scorned and least understood of all Italian styles.”
Here is a wine to help set the record straight.
This is a dry sparkling wine. That in itself is not terribly unusual, but what really caught my eye when I was trolling the wine bins at Costco was the fact that it is a red sparkling wine. What also caught my eye was the price and the fact that the esteemed critic James Suckling awarded this wine 92 points. I was sufficiently intrigued to put a “test bottle” in my cart.
When I got around to tasting the wine, I was really glad I made this discovery.
Lambrusco is one of the renowned specialties of Italy. This particular bottling has restrained effervescence with fresh notes of red berries and raspberry. Light and flavorful, it would match with all types of meats, pasta, pizza, tomato-based sauces and cheese. Note: even though its red, this wine should be served well-chilled.
This is not a complex wine. It tastes like grape juice, fermented dry, with light bubbles. Because that’s exactly what it is! Another plus: the wine is just 11% ABV, roughly one-third less than most new world table wines.
We have pointed this out before, but see that asterisk on the “shelf talker” in the photo above? That means this wine is an “in an out” item. When it’s gone, it may well be gone for good, or at least until next year. I like this wine so much I secured a few more bottles today so as to see me and my wine loving friends through the hot months still to come here in California.
If this inspires you to visit your local Costco, think about picking up this other sparkling Italian white wine (Prosecco, and just $6.99) we reviewed a while back:
Get to Know the Wine Region
Emilia-Romagna is a rich, fertile region of northern Italy and one of the country’s most prolific wine regions. At 150 miles wide, it spans almost the entire width of the northern Italian peninsula, wide enough to make it the only Italian region with both an east and a west coast. Emilia-Romagna’s viticultural heritage dates back as far as the seventh century BC, ranking it among the older of Italy’s wine regions.
About the Winery
Venturini Baldini is a large estate from the 17th century, situated in the hills between Reggio Emilia and Parma. Since 1976 they have been producing organic Lambrusco and sparkling wines, focusing mainly on Lambrusco and sparkling rose’ wines.
The vines, mainly Lambrusco varieties, grow in vineyards with clay-rich soils. Since the early 1990’s, Venturini Baldini has been producing high quality organically-certified products. The winery was one of the first in Italy – and the first in the region – to switch to an entirely organic production, and this commitment is now deeply rooted in its approach to farming and wine making.
About its Winemaking
As typical for an organic estate and especially one in the hills, the harvest is done manually, allowing Venturini Baldini to be very selective in sorting out the best grape clusters. Yield per hectare is significantly lower than at other Lambrusco wineries situated down in the plains, ensuring the highest quality grapes are used for the wines.
In addition to a local team of wine experts, the winery’s consultant is Carlo Ferrini, a famed enologist who also consults with greats such as Donnafugata and who in 2008 was nominated by Wine Enthusiast as the most influential enologist in the world.
Talk Back to Us
If you are sufficiently inspired to get your hands on some of this wine, let us know in the comments section if you liked it, and what foods you paired it with.