From “Bubbling Under: Can the scion of an Italian winemaking dynasty bring back Lambrusco’s once-sparkling reputation?” By Lawrence Osborne (Men’s Vogue 2008).
“I jumped at the chance to have dinner with Alicia Lini [above],” wrote acclaimed writer Lawrence Osborne in 2008, “and to drink four wines from her stable: the traditional Lambrusco lineup of red, white, rosé, and metodo classico. Pleasantly enough, Lini in person is also a bit like Sophia Loren.”
“It’s been an uphill struggle for Lambrusco,” she admitted as we started on the special Centovini menu created, as it were, for her. “It’s taken 10 years for people to realize that we didn’t make that awful stuff. But our winery has been around for many decades.” In fact, the family-run operation goes back to 1910, and Alicia represents the fourth generation of Lini Lambrusco makers. “We have always made a cork-finished dry wine that is nothing like what most people think of as Lambrusco.”
I asked Alicia if these were the kinds of Lambrusco her grandfather would have drunk. (Or mine, for that matter.)
“Certainly. It’s not a romanticism to say so. We never changed our style for a moment. It’s the same wine as always.”
We drank the red Labrusca Rosso — the operation’s flagship — with tortelli in brodo. It had a purply foam that died off almost at once and a taste of dark cherries. The wine was coolly playful, fresh, racy — and with an unexpected hint of depth. We went through the whole bottle comfortably. Next up, the rosé, which Lini makes from the Salamino and Sorbara clones: It brought a sparkling touch to [a] bollito misto — the traditional wintry “boiled dinner” of short ribs, veal tongue, capon, and cotechino sausage. Lambrusco, I realized, isn’t just a summer drink.
But the evening’s crown jewel was the metodo classico, an apple-gold wine good enough to be mistaken for a small-house Champagne. Sophia Loren? Her, and a dash of Monica Vitti with a few bubbles of Gina Lollobrigida, too.
The following is an excerpt from Lettie Teague’s 2010 article for the Wall Street Journal, “Riunite Was Nice, but There’s More to Lambrusco.”
“But then we got to the Lambruscos from the Lini Estate,” writes Lettie, “considered one of the best Lambrusco producers of all. Mike was home [she was tasting with American restaurant veteran Michael Avella who now serves as the GM for Bill Murray’s restaurant group]. ‘This is what I’m looking for,’ he said, when I poured him a glass of the Lini 910 Metodo Classico Rosso. ‘It’s lively with a wonderful floral bouquet. And it dances. Lambrusco should dance on your palate,’ he added. And needless to say, the foam was great.”
Lini has “become one of the most sought-after Lambruscos around,” she adds in the piece.
“There were several Linis that impressed” her and fellow taster Mike in their tasting of 20 Lambruscos.
“The Metodo Classico Rosso was Michael’s favorite but the Scuro [above] was my favorite — a big, rich but still beautifully ‘foamy’ Lambrusco that will pair beautifully with food.”
It’s not every day that one of the leading wine writers in Italy names one of your wines “the best” of the year in one of Italy’s top wine guides.
So you can imagine how thrilled we were to learn that Daniele Cernilli, who has been writing about Italian wine for more than 30 years, called our “In Correggio” Metodo Classico Rosso “the best Lambrusco of the year” and gave it a whopping score of 95 out of 100 points.
It was only natural that we would post the news on our social media.
But we couldn’t believe our eyes yesterday when Daniele — aka Doctor Wine — posted the following note on our Facebook:
“It’s not only the best Lambrusco of the year, it’s one of the best ever.”
We are truly humbled by his words.
The “In Correggio” Lambrusco Rosso Metodo Classico is made using the “traditional method” of sparkling wine production (otherwise known as the Champagne method).
100 percent Salamino grapes are first made into a base wine. A second fermentation is then provoked and the wine is sealed and stored at a 45° angle in racks like the one above in the photo (in our wine cellar). There the wine then ages “on its lees” (the lees are yeast cells that become solids after fermentation is complete). Every week, we gently turn the bottles by hand (yes, exclusively by hand) until the aging process is complete. When the wine is ready, it is disgorged of its sediment and bottled.
Most Lambrusco producers make their wines in large pressurized vats, no turning of the bottle required. We make our Labrusca line like that as well. But for this 100 percent Lambrusco Salamino, we take extra special care to make sure that it’s one of the greatest expressions of Emilian viticulture. We believe that this meticulous and time-consuming process is what makes the wine stand out.
It’s so nice to know that someone like Daniele Cernilli noticed!
Thank you, Daniele! You are a scholar and a gentleman!
We were thrilled to learn that Daniele Cernilli (above), one of the world’s preeminent Italian wine writers, has named our 2006 Lambrusco In Correggio Rosso “the best Lambrusco of the year” in his forthcoming Doctor Wine Guide to the wines of Italy.
He awarded the wine a whopping 95 points!
We couldn’t be more pleased.
Many of you will remember Daniele as one of the founding editors of the Gambero Rosso guide.
In recent years, he’s devoted his time to his own project, Doctor Wine, a bi-lingual online tasting note portal where he and his editors also profile leading Italian wineries and wines (the site has a ton of great English-language content, btw).
Thank you, Daniele, and thank you, Doctor Wine!
The new guide will be presented next month in Milan at a gala event. Lini will be there… with bells on!
Over the years, many top wine publications have published glowing reviews and high scores for Lini Lambrusco.
As part of our mission here at the Lini Lambrusco USA blog, we are creating an archive of all of the English-language accolades for our wines.
Back in 2015, the prestigious masthead Decanter awarded our Lambrusco Scuro a whopping 90 points.
Here are their editors’ tasting notes:
Lini NV Lambrusco In Correggio Lambrusco Scuro
This once unfashionable red fizz is making a comeback. Your preconceptions may be that it’s a sweet, simple wine, but this is a dry, complex style packed with black cherries and red currants. Refreshing on the palate with vibrant crunchy black fruit acidity, it will go well with rich Italian food.
Alicia recently sat down with Daniele Cernilli, one of the world’s great Italian wine experts and critics, founder and longtime editor of the Gambero Rosso guide to Italian wines and now editor of an immensely popular online wine portal, Doctor Wine (which, btw, publishes a lot of English-language content).
We’re looking forward to hearing the doctor’s notes on Lini’s current releases.
In the meantime, here’s a link to a profile of Lini published by the site two years ago.
“The line of wines produced is quite formidable and perhaps unique,” wrote the editors. “Choosing one to describe was quite a challenge because they are all excellent, some the absolute best in their category. This is a great winery that produces great wines, one that has discovered the secret of making great a wine that was born to be a table wine. The reputation of their great wines is now international.”
We were thrilled to learn that Lini’s rosé has been awarded the “Corona” (“Crown”) prize by the editors of the 2019 Vini Buoni d’Italia (“Good Wines from Italy”) guide, the publication’s top honor.
Click here for the complete list of winners. (It’s not bad company to keep!)
The Vini Buoni d’Italia guide is devoted exclusively to Italy’s native grape varieties and native wines. We couldn’t be more pleased to be among the winners of this year’s prestigious prize.
All of the winners will be presented at this year’s Merano Wine Festival, November 9-13.
We hope to see you there!