Wed 18 Sep 2013

‘Retro-Cool’ Wines?


In a recent article on vinho verde, wine writer and former Wine Society colleague Jane Parkinson talks about wines with ‘retro-cool cachet’ (vinho verde being her favourite of the moment).

This got me thinking about other wines that have risen phoenix-like from the doldrums of naff-dom to the new heights of über-cool.

Ottocentonero LambruscoOne prime candidate has to be Lambrusco. Yes we all know it isn’t sophisticated to like Lambrusco – it’s that horrible sickly sweet stuff, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. The mass-produced screw-capped mainly pink wine which had its heyday in the 1980s has unfortunately destroyed the reputation of Lambrusco, and yet the real stuff, as enjoyed by the Italians, could not be more different.

For self-respecting Emilians, Lambrusco is a dry, low-tannin, high-acid, strawberry-fruited red sparkling wine that cuts through the fat of the local cuisine so admirably.

The Italian phrase ‘Lo amo brusco’ – I like it sharp – is thought by some Emilians to be the origin of the name. Moderate in alcohol and served chilled, it’s a refreshing drink to serve with a plate of prosciutto, or a wide variety of foods.

Over the summer I have taken it along to barbecues and picnics and enjoyed the look of surprise on the faces of my friends when I tell them that they have been enjoying Lambrusco.

So deep in colour and with really fleshy fruit flavour, which one of my family likened to whinberries, the Ottocentonero Lambrusco (£7.95) we list has become a firm favourite during our unexpectedly hot summer. I’m now thinking of what I’d like to serve it with as the nights start to draw in. Spag bol springs to mind….though apparently tagliatelle is the pasta of choice for the eponymous sauce in Bologna, and the Italians do know a thing or two about being cool!

I wonder what other wines will be getting the retro-cool cachet. Could it be the turn of German riesling next?

Joanna Goodman
News Editor

Categories : Italy


  1. Absolutely right Jo! But never mind your spag bol, I like my red Lambrusco with a slice (or three) of decent pizza, especially if there’s a ‘Nduja topping to be had. Now *that’s* a food and wine match!

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