In America, the most visible wine of Emilia-Romagna has always been Lambrusco, but the region is home to a huge variety of wine styles. Emilia-Romagna is also considered to be Italy's culinary heartland, the source of precious Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma, and we swear you can often taste hints of these gastronomic delights in the wines!
Cantina Paltrinieri Bianco dell'Emilia 2017
There is simply no good reason to choose mass-produced Prosecco when there are so many delicious and unique estate-grown Italian sparkling wines available for less than $20. This quirky little wonder is a perfect example: a white sparkling wine made from Trebbiano and the red Lambrusco di Sorbara cultivar, a delicious and distinctive bubbly that you're not going to see every day... and it costs what? Yes, $15. Notes of pear and citrus are fresh and exuberant, while fine bubbles and lively acidity leave a clean and mineral impression. Sorry fat cats... you just can't compete!
La Tollara Colli Piacentini Malvasia 2017 You may remember the Birichino Malvasia from California that we poured a few months ago; it was a hit. Floral and spicy, Malvasia is one of the most aromatic grapes around. When made into a dry table wine, Malvasia needs a careful hand; refreshment is paramount and a highly aromatic grape like Malvasia can go in weird directions. La Tollara's beautiful 2017 Malvasia is as fresh as can be. Redolent of jasmine, lemon, white grapefruit, green pear and peaches, one may at first brace for sweetness but it turns very dry on the finish, with a firm grip of acidity and minerality mingling nicely with subtle citrus pith flavors.
La Tosa Gutturnio 'Senza Solfiti' 2017 Stefano and Ferruccio Pizzamiglio bring passion but also a scholarly clarity to their vocation of growing vines and making wine. Both were supposed to follow their father into the medical profession in Milan, but instead they fell in love with the life of wine. In the 1980’s they bought land in Vigolzone, their mother’s home town, and set out to realize their vision of terroir-driven wines. They were the first in Emilia-Romagna to introduce grassing of the rows, and minimal intervention. They are currently focused on zero sulfur and low sulfur wines, and this Gutturnio, a blend of 65% Barbera and 35% Bonarda, has never had any sulfites added at any point from vinification to bottling. Aromas and flavors of dark fruits, toasted spice and dark bread are fresh and engaging, while soft tannins and vibrant acidity embrace the palate through a very savory finish. This is an unsulfured wine that performs beautifully on day two... there's some kind of magic in this bottle.
Tenuta Pederzana Lambrusco 'Grasparossa' 2017
We're not going to say that Tenuta Pederzana makes the best Lambrusco. We are really tempted to say that they make the best Lambrusco Grasparossa, but playing favorites isn't really fair. We will note that for a couple decades Tenuta Pederzana has been counted among an extremely small group of elite producers in the region. The focus at Pederzana is Grasparossa, a cultivar that produces very dark berries and very dark wines. Pederzana's 2017 Grasparossa is positively explosive on the nose, with intense blackberry, raspberry, cherry, plums... you name the berry... hints of violets, wild herbs, leather and a savory prosciutto-like note lend lots of intrigue. Harmonius tannins and acidity keep everything fresh and crisp, there is a touch of sweetness that caresses the palate before the finish turns to focus on a gorgeous combination of ripe fruits and umami flavors... do NOT write off Lambrusco until you've tried the best.