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weekend-sip:-this-italian-sparkling-wine-could-be-the-next-prosecco
weekend-sip:-this-italian-sparkling-wine-could-be-the-next-prosecco

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Weekend Sip: This Italian sparkling wine could be the next Prosecco

Weekend Sip

Lambrusco, a popular style decades ago in the U.S., is poised for a comeback

Venturini Baldini Lambrusco shows the varietal in a compelling way. The Montelocco has a taste of cherries, but it’s far from cherry soda.


Venturini Baldini

The bottle: Venturini Baldini Montelocco Lambrusco, $16.99

The back story: Remember Lambrusco? In the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Italian sparkling red wine was highly popular in the U.S., though it got little respect from oenophiles. The reason had to do with its sheer sweetness — it was less a wine and more like a carbonated wine cooler, a drink that was more akin to, say, cherry soda than a quality Italian sip.

But these days, Lambrusco is finding its way back onto the shelves of wine stores. In particular, it is coming from producers that aim to showcase the style, which is produced primarily from varieties of the Lambrusco grape, in a different and often drier light.

Venturini Baldini, based in the country’s Emilia-Romagna region, is one such producer, with a history that goes back to the ‘70s. Its Lambrusco offerings are distinguished by the fact they are all organic, made “in full harmony with nature,” the winemaker says. In addition, Venturini Baldini emphasizes the less-sweet approach to Lambrusco, with Montelocco being a prime example.

The winemaker says it’s seeing solid demand for its Lambrusco in the U.S., with sales doubling in 2019 to 30,000 bottles.

What we think about it: Truth be told, we had a fondness for the cheap Lambrusco of yesteryear — if nothing else, it was fun and easy to drink. But the Venturini Baldini Lambrusco shows the varietal in a compelling way. The Montelocco has a taste of cherries, but it’s far from cherry soda: This is a sophisticated, semi-dry wine with a delicate bubbliness. Moreover, it is a somewhat heftier, satisfying change from Prosescco, the Italian sparkler that has been all the rage of late.

How to enjoy it: Montelocco is a natural for any pasta dish with red sauce. But the Venturini Baldini team says it can pair with many foods, from barbecue to Asian fare. It’s also a delicious wine on its own and a perfect way to begin a summer night.

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