Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Cameron Hughes Lot 841 Reggio Emilia Lambrusco

It’s been years since we’ve had Lambrusco. Here’s what we discovered.

The Italian Experiment

I was faced with a dilemma. Good friends Ken and Janet were coming for dinner and the Green Dragon was out of town for an extended stay.

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Ken also shared that they eat just about anything – anything, that is, except salmon and beets. That ruled out my idea of teriyaki salmon with a beet salad. I decided I would give lasagna a go.

The wine selection was another challenge. Ken had expressed his affinity for sweet wine and recalled with fondness a certain peach wine he had a few years ago. There are some excellent fruit wines produced by North Carolina wineries, but my wine collection is lacking in that department.

I did have months to plan and certainly could have picked up a bottle of fruit wine, but critical things (like playing tennis and procrastination) interfered. They, my eyes alighted on the perfect selection: the Lot 841 Reggio Emilia Lambrusco from Cameron Hughes.

Lambrusco Redux

In my early years of imbibing, I had a fair amount of Lambrusco. In fact, in the 1970s and ‘80s, Lambrusco was the number one imported wine in the US. My palate later morphed and I sought drier wines and different styles. Lambrusco was left behind. In fairness, Riunite might not have been the pinnacle of Lambrusco wine excellence.

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For my Italian dinner, the Lambrusco was just the right pick. The wine has a sweetness that appealed to my guests but had complex flavors that paired well with my meal and gave me a renewed appreciation for the grape.

The Cameron Hughes Lambrusco stands apart from the mass-marketed and overly sweet Lambrusco that has hit American shores. It is a rustic expression of Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Marani grapes and is on the dry side of off-dry. It has the trademark frizzante bubbles that always add an interesting twist to a red wine.

In the glass the wine is a deep, deep ruby with its signature foam. It has definite fruity notes of cherry, blackberry and rhubarb. On the finish, there is a touch of leather. This isn’t a dessert wine but is traditionally an aperitif or dinner wine.  Pizza would be another great pairing.

I slaved over my lasagna. Who knew it required so many layers! The results were worthwhile and the Lambrusco proved a nice choice. My guests appreciated the fruit-forward profile and I enjoyed the unexpected complexity.

The SRP is $15 and may be found on the Cameron Hughes website.

Full disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.

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