For those of you attending Vinitaly this year, we hope to see you at the Lini stand: Hall 3, Stand C6.

Few English-speaking readers beyond southeast Texas and Louisiana will know what boudin is.

Well, they might know European boudin noir, the classic blood sausage found in many countries across the continent and even in Italy.

But unless you’ve spent some time along the Gulf Coast of the southeastern U.S., otherwise known as lagniappe country, you’ve probably never experienced Cajun boudin.

Also known as boudin blanc, it’s a type of sausage made with pork, rice, and spices (here’s a cool video on how boudin is made).

One of the ways that boudin is typically served is as “boudin balls”: The sausage is de-cased, crumbled, formed into balls, and then battered and fried.

It’s a classic dish along the Gulf Coast where our English-language blogger Jeremy lives.

He and his family recently paired homemade boudin balls with Lini Lambrusco Labrusca Rosato.

“It’s a spicy dish,” said Jeremy, “and needs a really fresh wine. It’s also a really fat-laden dish that in many ways mirrors the pork-heavy diet of the Emilians. The acidity and the bright fruit flavors worked great with the heat and the fat. And the wine’s lithe character was a counterpoint to the ‘stick-to-your-ribs’ earthy character of the sausage.”

Could Lambrusco be the ultimate pairing for Cajun cuisine?

Based on this initial experience (the first in our ongoing research), it might just be!

For those of you attending Vinitaly this year, we hope to see you at the Lini stand: Hall 3, Stand C6.

Lini will also be poured in a fantastic flight of wines to be presented by Daniele Cernilli (above), one of Italy’s leading wine writers and wine critics.

On Sunday, April 7 (the first day of the fair), he’s leading a 2 p.m. seminar on sparkling wine that will include the Lini 2006 Lambrusco Metodo Classico.

It’s one not to miss!

Click here for info and registration details.

According to a feature story published in the finance section of the Italian national daily La Stampa last week, “Americans are going crazy for Italian sparkling wines.”

“Sparkling wine is leading ‘made in Italy’ wines in the U.S.,” writes the author of the piece.

“The most recent data shared by the [Italian] Trade Commission in America taste like an important milestone for Italy. In 2018, [Italian] wine exports grew by 6.8 percent in terms of value… the highest increase over the last 5 years and 1.2 percent higher than the previous year… the United States has established itself as the top market for Italian wine exports. It takes in roughly a quarter of the total number of bottles sold abroad.”

But the best news for sparkling wine producers is that Americans have become the leading consumers of Italian bubbles as well.

“Italy is the top supplier of white wines in the U.S., accounting for 40 percent of the market. It’s also the top supplier of red wines, accounting for 32.5 percent. And in the sparkling wine category, [Italy] dominates the market in terms of quantities with 57 percent of imports.”

At Vinitaly this year, Lini 910 will be sharing some big news as it begins a new chapter in its market presence in America. Stay tuned!

Alicia Lini recently came across this 20018 Rolling Stone review by Filippo Polidori, one of Italy’s leading influencers. In his article, he pairs Lini Lambrusco Scuro with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and he quotes “his friend” Oliviero Toscani, the celebrated Italian photographer.

Their conclusion? There is no wine hipper than Lambrusco.

We’ve translated the piece in its entirety here. Enjoy!

Did you know that Lambrusco used to be as popular in the U.S. as it was in Italy?

By the end of the 1970s, 50 percent of the Italian wine exported to the U.S. was Lambrusco, although that trend changed.

But as often happens, neither man nor the market are always grateful.

Despite the hard work of Lambrusco producers, for years their wines were consumed almost exclusively in the region where they were produced.

25 years later Lambrusco has returned and people are talking about it.

Today [2008], Lambrusco is the biggest selling wine in Brazil.

Its popularity is owed to its simplicity, to its directness.

Once, when I happened to be talking with my friend, the often genius Oliverio Toscani [the famous Italian photographer], he offered this definition:

“A wine that got around because it was an easy hook-up.”

Lambrusco’s strength comes from its easygoing nature. But it’s also what holds it back.

In recent years, concentrated, muscular, steroid-driven wines have been the trend. And simplicity is seen as banality.

But despite these challenges, Lambrusco has returned to the top and people love it again. It’s “vintage” and young people like that.

Oliveri Toscani had this to say: “Lambrusco is the true wine of Italy. It’s like Marcello Mastroianni. Who could be better than him to represent Italy? Lambrusco has an Italian face. But we Italians are embarrassed by it because it’s not trendy. It’s ridiculous. Actually, Lambrusco is trendy, more so than other wines! If Italians were truly chic, they would get it.”

This is Lambrusco! A human wine that allows you to drink well without expecting payback.

When I sat down to write this article, I picked a CD that represented two different musical souls: Rock and folk.

Bruce Springsteen is just the right artist and “Born to Run” is the perfect sound track.

The wine I chose is Lini 910 Lambrusco Scuro.

From the moment you pour it into the glass, the brilliant ruby red color and the aromas of cherry and strawberry let you know you are with someone “simpatico.” This Lambrusco needs no introduction to be appreciated. It’s testament to simplicity’s greatness.

Filippo Polidori
Rolling Stone (Italia)
February 2008

Many wine historians believe that Lambrusco was the first grape to be used for wine production in Italy.

The Latin word labrusca (from which Lambrusco is derived) means literally wild, as in vitis labrusca or wild grape .

Today, we use the term vitis labrusca side-by-side with vitis vinifera. The former denotes naturally occurring grape varieties while the latter is used for European grape varieties that have been cultivated and selected by humankind for wine production.

Some speculate that the Etruscans — the ancient people of Italy — were the first to vinify vitis labrusca in Italy.

Italy’s agriculturally rich Po River Valley has always been the spiritual homeland of Lambrusco where it is grown predominantly in the region of Emilia.

By the first part of the 20th century, it had become a popular wine in the inns and taverns that dotted the Via Emilia — the ancient road that traverses the region. And as Italy industrialized during the years that led up to the Second World War, Lambrusco became the true “wine of the people” — the preferred wine of factory workers who craved its refreshing flavors.

After World War II, as Italy’s “economic miracle” began to take shape, Lambrusco’s popularity only continued to grow throughout the country. It was the perfect wine to pair with the Italians’ newfound prosperity and optimism. By the end of the 1960s, Lambrusco’s bubbles had become a symbol of the country’s new outlook and hope for the future.

And that’s when Lambrusco began to be exported to North America, where wine culture was just beginning to emerge.

But the wine that the larger Lambrusco producers decided to ship to the U.S. in the 1970s was a new sweet version of Lambrusco. Americans like sweet wines and they like sweet beverages (like soft drinks), the thinking went. So it only made sense to send them off-dry Lambrusco.

By the end of the decade, however, Americans were evolving rapidly as wine lovers and they had begun to develop a taste for dry wines. Although Lambrusco had become an immensely successful category in Canada and the U.S., interestquickly began to wane.

It wouldn’t be until the first decade of the 21st century that North Americans’ interest in Lambrusco would be reborn.

When Lini’s wines landed in New York in 2006, they were the first dry Lambruscos that many Americans had ever tasted. And they were also among the first artisanal Lamburscos to reach the New World. Most American food and wine writers had never tasted anything like them.

At the time, interest in Italian native grape varieties and traditional-style wines was exploding in New York City and Lini 910 literally became the toast of the town: The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine magazine, and many other high-profile mastheads all published glowing reviews of the wines.

When Lini 910 was first asked to sell and ship its wines to America, the winery decided to rename one of its wines Labrusca after the ancient grapes that the Etruscans grew.

And the rest is history.

To be continued…

Here at our house, one of our favorite Sunday night traditions is steak and French fries dinner. We pan-fire prime New York strip steaks from our favorite local butcher and we roast hand-cut French fries.

Just to give the steak some added flavor, I’ll also sauté a large jalapeño pepper and some scallions in the same pan (I generally start cook the pepper and scallions before I add the steak, which I rub generously with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper).

It’s all-American evening in Houston, Texas, where we also usually watch a movie together for the occasion.

Americans are so hung up on drinking “big” tannic wine with steak. They often think that Cabernet Sauvignon — and in particular, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with its signature “big” style — is the only wine category worth of a great piece of beef.

It doesn’t occur to most that Lambrusco is actually a very tannic grape. And few know that it makes for a sublime pairing with charred steak like the ones we like to make a couple of times of month (after all, we have two little kids at home and steak is a great excuse to get them to enjoy protein).

Of course, like any good Texan, I like my steak served with a little bit of heat, hence the jalapeño and the habanero-based sauce I like to use with my beef.

That’s another reason why I like serving Lambrusco with steak: Because it’s served chilled and because it sparkles with freshness, the heat doesn’t overwhelm it the way it would a Nebbiolo or a tannic Pinot Noir, for example.

The next time you sit down to a great hunk of beef, pop open a bottle of Lambrusco. Trust me: you’ll thank us.

Jeremy Parzen
blog master

It’s not every week that you discover that your wine is being poured in the legendary Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the “historic heart” of Harvard University!

This week and next, Grafton Street Pub — a favorite destination for students and professors — is serving Lini Lambrusco as part of their Winter Dine Out menu (check it out on the Harvard Square website!).

The pairing? Tuna tartare with avocado yogurt, black radish, sesame, togarashi wonton chips.

Sound delicious!

The menu, with wine pairings, is available through March 15.

Go Crimson!

Grafton Street Pub & Grill
1230 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge MA 02138
(617) 497-0400
Google map

Image via the Grafton Street Facebook.