You might remember Lambrusco as the fizzy, soda-pop-like wine your parents drank during the Carter-Reagan era, typically over ice from a bottle labeled Riunite. Thankfully, a new generation of Lambrusco is upon us, and it's as welcome as our new administration.
These frizzante (semi-sparkling) wines are made from the grape of the same name and hail from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. Most Lambrusco are vibrantly juicy but finish dry, with lots of dark berry flavors and a bit of earthiness. They pair wonderfully with salty Italian aperitivi (think Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma) and are a refreshing complement to pizza. Lambrusco's just the thing to drink when you're happy--or want to get happy (it just has that effect)--though we still don't recommend it on the rocks.
These post-modern Lambruscos are best drunk slightly chilled (just keep that ice in the freezer):
NV Medici Ermete 'Solo' Lambrusco ($15) From a producer with a whole range of Lambruscos, the value-priced Solo is deep violet and bursts with dark-berry flavor (franklywines.com).
2007 Lini Labrusca Rosso ($16) Lini sets the standard for refreshing-yet-earthy Lambrusco with a touch of sweetness on the finish (leduwines.com).
NV Zucchi Lambrusco di Sorbara ($10 a glass/$45 a bottle) This light-bodied, food-friendly sparkler has fresh red-berry flavors. Pair it with a platter of salumi. Available at Il Buco restaurant, 47 Bond St. (between Lafayette St. and the Bowery); 212-533-1932 or ilbuco.com
NV Grasparossa di Castelvetro Villa di Corlo Lambrusco ($40 a bottle) Full of body and character, this bottling displays a unique kirsch-like quality and a savory finish. Available at Convivio restaurant, 45 Tudor City Pl. (between 42nd and 43rd sts.); 212-599-5045 or convivionyc.com