The SOMM Journal

August / September 2016

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Page 24 of 148

24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 IN 1982, THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED A STORY TITLED "Lambrusco Rates High with U.S. Consumers." Of course, that Lambrusco was the predominantly sweet, mass-produced, slightly effervescent fruity wine. And though Americans' "full-blown love affair," as The Times put it, with Lambrusco has all but disappeared (especially from high-end on-premise accounts) in recent decades, that romance is being rekindled as sommeliers and beverages directors are swiping right in a Tinder-esque fury. Emilia-Romagna's famed grape, cultivated in mostly clay soils, but with shining examples coming from areas with sandier potassium-rich soils, has turned a righteous new corner as producers have invested in new facilities and are finally cutting yields. Perhaps ,then, it's not too surprising that Kobrand recently acquired Medici Ermete (previ - ously imported by Domaine Select). One of the oldest produc- ers in Emilia Romagna, the Medici family—yes, that Medici fam- ily—can boast four generations of winemaking, a winery in Gaida, with Parma to the west and 185 acres of estate vineyards spread throughout the Reggiano DOC region to the east of town. Over dinner at Oro restaurant in San Francisco, Alberto Medici spoke of his great-grandfather, Remigio, who founded the company. "At the end of the 19th century he had three osterias in Parma and three beautiful daughters running them. He had a son also, Ermete, my grandfather, whom he sent to Emilia to make Lambrusco for the wine bars. It became so popular they needed to sell it around the region," and that was the beginning. Today, Medici-Ermete is exported to 70 countries around the globe. A hallmark of their approach has been to cultivate and vinify single-varieties for Lambrusco production, from Ancellotta, Lambrusco Marani and the tubular-shaped Lambrusco Salamino, grapes planted on the "flats," to one variety, Grasparosso that is cultivated on hillsides in the south, where the Apennine Mountains begin their ascent into Tuscany. Additionally, the Medicis have cultivated their own yeast, taken from the skins of the Lambrusco Salamino grape, which Alberto says "enhances the body of our wines, and contributes a lively freshness of fruit"—giving Medici Ermete a decisive edge over competitors. Additionally, they've slashed yields up to 40 percent less than what the Lambrusco Corsortio permits. Once harvested, most grapes see roughly six days of skin contact with the must, and all the wines we tasted were produced via the Charmat method. { italy } Lambrusco Love Affair PHOTO COURTESY OF MEDICI ERMETE KOBRAND TAKES ON MEDICI ERMETE, SHINING THE SPOTLIGHT ON WORLD-CLASS WINES FROM AN ICONIC FAMILY DYNASTY by Jonathan Cristaldi TASTING NOTES All prices are suggested retail. Medici Ermete 2015 I Quercioli Secco Reggiano, Lambrusco DOC, Italy ($13.99) Fizzy; beautiful perfumed notes; lively dark berry flavors; savory spice and salty minerality—a blend of Lambrusco Marani grapes, which contribute good acidity, with Lambrusco Salamino, which gives nice body and structure. Medici Ermete 2015 Solo Reggiano Rosso DOC, Italy ($19.99) A blend of Ancelleto and Lambrusco Salamino from a single vineyard—lightly fizzy, gorgeous violet notes, wild herbs, great acid, supple tannins; generous red berry flavors that linger. Medici Ermete 2015 Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco, Italy ($22.99) Their flagship wine; Gambero Rosso's Tre Bicchieri winner for seven consecutive years and the first single-vineyard vintage-dated 100% Lambrusco Salamino wine. Floral with earthy notes; fresh and lightly effervescent; strawberries and cherries; chalky minerality. Medici Ermete 2015 I Quercioli Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco DOC, Italy ($13.99) Lightly fizzy; red licorice and violet spice; earthy with tart red berry flavors refined by just the right amount of sweetness. Buyers can find out more at Alberto Medici, fourth-generation owner of Medici Ermete.

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