Venturini Baldini in Roncolo di Quattro Castello -- CERTIFIED ORGANIC!
This ain't your grandmom's sweet swill of a Lambrusco. Let's hope those days are gone forever. This is the real deal, made from the traditional grapes from the Emilia part of Emilia-Romagna (see map), bone dry, and made fizzy with the Charmat method (as used for Prosecco). The wine is vinous, dry, and earthy, with small red and black fruit; as complicated as you like, and/or as fun. Unlike the single sub-variety bottling of Lambrusco, such as Grasparosso di Castelvetro, ones from Emilia have a field of native grapes (see wines below); some sub-varieites give zip, some tannic structure, some floral perfume. Also to note is that an overwhelming majority of not-so-interesting Lambrusco is made in the valley, but some quality producers work the hills coming off the Apennines, which travel diagonally over half the region; more on the natural winert-cum-natural park reserve below.
For lots of folks here in Italy, Lambrusco always brings to mind large loud gatherings around the table with whirls of tomfoolery and that great forgotten sentiment of conviviality. I see an echo of that with the spitit of an emerging artisan salumi movement here in the States. This purple (Lambrusco) and golden (Malvasia) froth-fizz plays so well with the foil of prosciutto, salumi, and culatello. Slice and sip.
The estate itself is on a natural reserve of 150 hectares, with a fourth being vines. Deer run freely; rabbits hop. And the altitude (170-370 meters) gives great exposition for the grapes to mature slowly and surely, with cool nights and sunny days. The soil is mostly a mix of clay and sand (good drainage) with some marine fossils for good measure. No herbicides, insecticides, chemicals of any type; manure has its place here, as do plant extracts such as Neem, and certain insects that prey on parasites. They recently obtained biologic certification for the Lambrusco and Malvasia, although they've been practicing organic for years.
Last but not least, if you come here, be sure to line up a visit to the acetaia, an attic you wouldn’t mind being locked in, with balsamic vinegar aging in barrels of various years, from new to 75 years. A rare example of its kind, not to be missed.