I once spent a warm evening sitting on the cobblestones of Bologna’s Piazza Verdi, in a circle of friends, surrounded by clusters of the city’s electric youth. Most were lost in animated, intense, and jovial conversations. Some had stood up and started to dance to a spontaneous, unpolished brass-and-percussion ensemble. My friends and I talked and observed, nursing our Negronis from the nearby bar. I didn’t know about Lambrusco back then, and even if I had, I might have only heard about Lambrusco of the Dark Ages—the ’70s and ’80s—when it was probably not too far off from sparkling red Welch’s. If I had known about Emilia-Romagna’s dry, serious, and seriously fun Lambrusco, though, I would have absolutely chosen that to imbibe on a warm, festive, Bolognese night. Twenty or so miles west of Bologna, Fattoria Moretto grows the Lambrusco Grasparossa grape to make one of the most cheerful, warm-weather-friendly wines you’ll experience. The “Grasparossa” part is important—among the top class of the Lambrusco varieties, it is the only one that grows primarily on the hillsides of Emilia-Romagna as opposed to the flatlands.
If you are skeptical that you could love a fizzy, frothy red wine, consider:
1) This wine is completely dry. It is earthy, with notes of dark berries, and bears a gentle tannin. 2) It’s sparkling, so keep it in the fridge and you’ll find that few beverages offer more fun and refreshment. 3) You owe it to Emilia-Romagna to give this a try. The region which gave us ragù (Bolognese), mortadella, tortellini, Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic vinegar, and legendary cured prosciutto has earned our blind faith at this point—and this wine goes supremely well with them all (and everything else). Has Italy’s culinary capital let you down yet? With Fattoria Moretto’s Lambrusco, it’s not about to start. Whether you’re in Bologna, Berkeley, or somewhere in between, you’ll be happier on a warm summer afternoon or night with Moretto’s Lambrusco Grasparossa in your glass.