A buddy of mine went to see Take That at Wembley the other week; she was outrageously excited before she went and has barely calmed since she came back!
She travelled quite some distance to get to the concert and had taken up the offer of another friend to stay in his flat so that the long journey home could happen the next day.
“Don’t worry, I’ll stock up the fridge with Lambrusco for you” he laughed and then continued, “but we best not swear in front of Sarah!”
Poor Lambrusco! A few days before that conversation I had popped into a rather excellent Buckinghamshire wine merchant and picked up a few bottles of things I hadn’t tasted before and one of them just happened to be a rather jazzily presented 2009 Lambrusco made by Donati Camillo (£15.50 www.2poundstreet.com). The owner of the wine merchant furrowed his brow a little and said “so, it’s quite a traditional style that one . . .”
The words may not have come out of his mouth but his eyes definitely said “are you sure that’s what you want?!”
Well, Dallas is back (according to US network TNT for ten episodes) and I think if that is back in fashion then it’s time someone stood up for Lambrusco. I’m not talking white or rosé here. No, this is the traditional red fizzy stuff that I’m talking about.
As with so many wines that get dismissed over time, volume and careless wine making are often at the root of their poor quality and Lambrusco is no exception.
The Lambrusco vine is fantastically productive and whilst huge volumes of red grapes may appear, they are not necessarily of the best or most interesting quality.
Add to this the fact that Lambrusco can claim some five dozen sub-varieties and you begin to understand how it is that picking out the quality from the very average is something of a challenge.
Next comes the tricky business of persuading people that a gutsy red wine with gripping tannins and a tiny bit of fizz is a palatable experience.
Not, I admit, a marketer’s dream project.
There is though something really enjoyable about a good glass of lightly-chilled Lambrusco; promise! I really like the bitter chocolate and dark plum and sour cherry fruit, the bite that it has and the faintly frothy aftertaste.
Oh I know, it sounds weird!
I’m not about to suggest you sit down and drink a bottle as a summertime aperitif, but I am going to ask you to consider it as a fun treat with a plate of charcuterie or, as I did this evening with some barbequed poussin that I’d marinated in mild spices for twenty four hours. I honestly think you’ll be impressed . . .