Vigneto Saetti "Rosso Viola" Lambrusco dell'Emilia 2021
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Lambrusco became incredibly popular in the United States in the 70’s and 80’s, along with some other regions of Italy such as Soave, Valpolicella, and Chianti. Because of that
popularity, all of these regions suffered from the same problem: a lot of producers wanted to take part in the cash flow, the regions expanded very fast, and production quality plummeted. Predictably, these wines all soon earned a bad reputation in the marketplace because there was no reliable way to differentiate between well made wine and swill. All of these regions have essentially been trying to tighten up controls and standards ever since.
This Lambrusco made by Luciano Saetti is a now considered classic Italian sparkling wine because it is in direct opposition to the excesses of the 70s and 80s. Saetti only uses a very local strain of the Lambrusco grape called Salamino di Santa Croce, which here makes a rather dark wine, full of blackberry, plum, currant, and also an herbal/brambly quality which gives the wine complexity and nuance. This is a great food wine as the skin contact actually imparts a bit of tannin and is fermented completely dry. Saetti is also unique in that he farms strictly organically, has not used any sulfur whatsoever in his winemaking since 2007, and the secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle versus most Lambrusco, that uses the cheaper Charmat method, where the secondary fermentation is done in a large tank. This is not crazy funky but it will get funkier the longer it's open. Don't be too afraid, it's a lovely, refreshing wine made out of passion and deep commitment to changing the attitudes that got Luciano's home region into trouble in the past. [Alex Rifkin]