Updated: Sep 28, 2017
If I could choose an Italian grandfather...
Boni Luigi is our kind of guy. Upon arriving at his hilltop winery about an hour from Bologna the first order of business was to discuss lunch plans. Welcome to Italy.
Lambrusco is one of those polarizing wines that shouldn't be. The problem most likely is memories of Riunite in a gallon jug that was sweet, green, and more like sparkling iced tea than real wine. We've been on the hunt for the opposite, and with Boni's whopping 1 hectare Il Ritorno parcel, we struck red, sparkling gold!
When I told a friend of mine that I was heading to Emiglia-Romagna to find some sparkling wine he playfully chided me: "You're looking for Brooklyn wine bar headache juice? Good luck with that...”
But what I found at Boni's was instead something far more for farmhouse, far more handmade, and exponentially far more awesome.
A Renaissance man
Boni farms and makes this wine for a neighbor, and makes only 1000 bottles. When I tasted it on a cool, check that, cold, February day it somehow seemed appropriate to quaff it down nice and cold, even standing around his space heater to stay warm. Lambrusco is like that I guess, at once refreshing and lively, but at the same time, still red wine! Perfect all year round.
Next door to the winery, a three-story aceiteria beckons. Barrel upon barrel of Balsamic ages there, with just a rustic tasting room separating the two facilities. Boni is confirmed bachelor, and happily eats out every night except Saturday. He could drive you blindfolded to a tiny taverna where they make what the locals consider to be the region's best tortellini. When we visited, the gentleman at the next table happened to be a revered producer of Reggiano Parmesan. Boni is connected.
After cranking down a bottle of Lambrusco with some ham, salami, polenta, and tuna-filled pasta, I wondered to myself, "Do we have here the most food appropriate wine in our lineup?" I think we do.