Emilia-Romagna, Wine+Food

Notes from Parma: What is quality Lambrusco?

Parma is VIOLETS. Aged hams, dark chocolate, profumo, the fizz of Lambrusco.

Violets became popular under Maria-Luiga, the Duchess of Parma and second wife of Napoleon, whose presence can be felt everywhere walking along the prosciutto-coloured streets.

The smell of violet has three distinct parts: candy-sweet, violet flower and violet leaf. In my opinion, this can be seen as the spectrum of quality of Lambrusco. The worst being confectionary and the best redolent of violet leaf. A good, refreshing Lambrusco has a violet leaf dryness with a violet fizz that immediately dissipates into an ecstasy of violet perfume.

After my last post, I had some rather strong reactions to my assertion there could even be a possibility of quality Lambrusco. Think of it this way. Rose was also once considered a sweet and cheap drink. Look at it today. Over the past 10 years it has become one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines on the menu.

What do you think? Can you recommend anything good? Or is Lambrusco a hopeless case?