August 09, 2006

Medici Ermete 2003 Lambrusco Secco Concerto, about $21

Sparkling red wines don't get much respect in the U.S., but good lambrusco is worth a closer look. I don't mean the sweet stuff, but dry lambrusco, labeled secco to distinguish it from amabile and dolce (slightly sweet and sweet).

Made in Emilia Romagna from the low-tannin lambrusco grape, good versions like Medici Ermete's Concerto taste like they are made for sipping with some thin-sliced salumi or arancini, Italy's addictive fried rice balls. The dried cherry flavors are light and savory with a slightly bitter black pepper edge that cuts through richness, while the soft bubbles give the wine a refreshing lift.

It's an excellent wine with which to whet the palate on a hot day, or sip all the way through a meal. (It's 11 percent alcohol, so you can have more than a glass.)

Imported by J.K. Imports, Pasadena, Calif.

This review first appeared in the Denver Post

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