Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: Lini 910 Lambrusco Bianco

Every now and then, a wine seller will try to push a Lambrusco on me. I'll be surprised to see a bottle on the shelf and ask something like "Lambrusco? Really?" And the store owner will go into some tap dance of "Yeah, I know, most of them are so insipid. But not this one! This is a really good Lambrusco, the way the wine can be. I wouldn't have it in my store if I didn't think so."

And, being fairly gullible, and always fond of an unlikely buy, I'll take one home. Then I open it, drink it and think, "Lambrusco. Eh." It's fizzy, it's simple, it goes with food, it's uninteresting. Leave it in Emilia Romagna.

Well, I got talked into a Lambrusco again last week, this time at Dry Dock, the new Red Hook, Brooklyn, wine store that is going a long way toward filling up the hole left by LeNell's. I was intrigued because the store had a Bianco, Rose and Rosse Lambrusco, all by the same producer, Lini 910. (The white and rose are achieved by having little contact with the skins of the grape which, in this case, is actually Pinot Nero.) The owner who talked me into it also confessed she loved the white best, red second and rose not so much. I like a bit of honesty in my sales pitch.

So I took the white home and, for once, didn't regret it. This wine is easily the best Lambrusco I've ever had, with an unlikely complexity that robs the wine not a whit of its refreshing sparkle. There are fruit and herbal notes and a slight oxidized character. The bottle barely lasted through dinner. Lini 910 is a 100-year-old vintner, having been founded in 1910. The producer is Alicia Lini, and she also makes a white version called metodo classical, which is bottle fermented like Champagne. Now I'm curious about the Rosso and Rose.

1 comment:

Michele said...

I just found your post while doing some google searching about Lini Lambrusco. I'm happy to read such a review of Lini changing your impression of Lambrusco (you're not alone I am sure!). So thanks for taking the chance on lambrusco one more time. I've done work for the importer, so I can't help but correct a couple details. The grape variety in all three Lini "labrusca" Lambruscos is actually Lambrusco. The confusion may have come from Lini's white champagne method wine which is in fact made of Pinot Noir. However, the red champagne method is again made with Lambrusco grapes, and a real treat. Also, Alicia is very much involved in the operations at the winery and to credit for its resurgence, but her father Fabio is still the winemaker. In any case, I'm glad you liked the white. Did you go back for the red and rose yet? I hope you continue to enjoy the Lini wines!