What Lambrusco Can Truly Be
Let’s get something out of the way: we love Lambrusco.
Maybe not the sweet, bubbly grape juice with alcohol...you know, the stuff that your grandparents had at picnics?
We’re talking about the wide range of traditional wines from central and Eastern Emilia-Romagna. They're almost always dry and hold bright acid and tickly effervescence.
They are a delight, especially with the region's traditional and delicious food.
That said, even the best of these are generally simple pleasures, gulp-able and thirst quenching.
Nothing wrong with that, but what if someone decided to pay super close attention to the vineyards and they’re place in nature, and also to make wines in ways that have more to do with the best, hands off winemaking that is now happening in select cellars around the world?
Turns out someone is doing exactly that!
His name is Gianluca Bergianti. In 2008 Gianluca founded Terrevive after purchasing land outside Modena. He had a plan for his own interpretation of Lambrusco, and it started on the farm and in the soil.
He didn’t just plant vines though, he planted fruit and nut trees, grains, vegetables, herbs and more. Polyculture was integral to his philosophy of farming, as was using only natural, organic methods in all aspects of production.
His passion for the farm also translates to winemaking.
Gianluca refuses to use the “charmat” method of adding CO2 via careful recipest of cultured yeast and sugar, and instead uses his own grape must as the only addition to kick start the secondary fermentation in bottle.
It’s closer to Champagne than Lambrusco or Prosecco, and certainly not a Petillant-Natural, but it’s really just a unique expression of the land and his vision for wines produced from it.
We were delighted to taste these wines recently as they are brand new to famed importer Rosenthal as well as the U.S. in general.
They are all pristine, elegant and transparent. Dry and mineral laden, with distinct aromas that are unique to each cuvée he makes. T
hey are also very limited, we have just a few cases of each and recommend you grabs some soon before they are gone.
“Produced purely from an ancient hyper-local clone of Salamino di Santa Croce, “PerFranco” is named for Gianluca’s grandfather. Paler in hue than “No Autoclave,” it pours a lightly hazy salmon in the glass, yet its overall spirit is more vinous and serious. With a blast of mouthwatering acidity that could awaken one from a coma, it buries its bubbles beneath a bracingly tense texture which delivers notes of wild strawberries and freshly plucked herbs with dirt still clinging to the roots.”
“Named after the patron saint of wine, the eye-poppingly vivid “San Vincent” is made entirely from the local Sorbara, which may in fact be related to Pinot Meunier, according to Gianluca. This bottling combines the breezy scrumptiousness of “No Autoclave” with some of the penetrating intensity of “PerFranco,” offering well-delineated, lifted notes of cassis, raspberry, licorice, and plenty of the wild herbs which seem to pop up in all of Gianluca’s wines. “San Vincent” delivers a strong and satisfying retronasal impression on the palate, and its combination of saline minerality and scythe-like acidity prompts involuntary salivation.”
“Stiolorosso” is 100% Sorbara for which Gianluca employs a traditional local style of vinification: three days of punching down, and that’s it. This keeps the wine lively and prevents over-extraction, though plenty of deep color is produced from such a brief period of pigeage. “Stiolorosso” offers a typically expressive nose of earthy black cherries, with a trace of well-gauged volatility and a subtle salty funk, and its palate is both juicy and tense, with those cherry flavors echoing.”