by Paullette Gaudet
There is very little in this world that carbonation can’t improve (see: water, apple juice), but it has somehow taken a fair bit of time for sparkling red wines to hit their stride in this country. Yes, Lambrusco got an ill-deserved reputation in the 70’s and 80’s for some imported iterations being cheap and sweet, but it is actually a complex wine of staggering variety and depth. Hailing from Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Lambrusco sparkling red wine comes in sweet, dry, light, and bold varieties. For summer drinking, the two lightest styles are Lambrusco di Sorbara and Lambrusco Rosato (rosé), featuring a raspberry soda tang with very little tannin. The Official Sweet Scale of Italian Sparkling Wine is: Secco (dry), Semisecco (off-dry), Amabile or Dolce (sweet). A wise choice spanning all varieties of Lambrusco is Amabile, which consistently offers a good balance of tart and sweet, but each variety is worth a try.
Sparkling Shiraz is not just a dream, it’s a reality: quite popular in Australia (where it’s produced), this wine is exactly as described—a sparkling version of the hearty, high-alcohol red we’ve come to know and love next to our burgers, steaks, and remote controls. Finding a good bottle this side of the equator can be tough, and it seems that price indicates quality: expect to start drinking well at $30/bottle.
Brachetto D’Acqui is high in sweetness, low in alcohol, and perfect as a pairing for chocolate. From Piedmont, Italy, this sparkling wine’s spring berry and floral notes are the result of the Brachetto grape skins only being in contact with the juice for two days.
Languish in these last days of July, and drink sparkling red wine!