Wine Wednesdays – Pronto Lambrusco

With my frequent trips home, I’ve had fun exploring new restaurants in San Francisco on my way home from the airport, it’s a completely different city than the one I grew up in!  After seeing a post from Miss Gwyneth about dinner at Cotogna, I was intrigued and added it to my list to try.
I remember my first taste of Lambrusco, 9 years ago as a study abroad student in Florence.  We took a wine tasting class and one of the wines poured was a fizzy red wine, I had never heard of such a thing!  I haven’t had much interaction with it since, often dismissing it for an alcoholic grape juice.
Cotogna was pouring the Pronto Secco Lambrusco by the glass so I decided to give it another try.  This was different than anything I remembered about those early sips of Lambrusco.  The producer, Paola Rinaldini is something of a “darling” of the Lambrusco crowd, producing a classic wine that aims to demystify the stereotype.  
The color was a rich, inky purple.  The nose was slightly spicy.  The palette was medium bodied, fruity and dry with soft bubbles and a slightly bitter finish.  I immediately wanted another sip!  So THIS is what Lambrusco is supposed to be, dry, crisp, refreshing, rich.  A perfect match to the traditional food of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy from where this wine typically comes from, salty Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma, and dry salumi.  The perfect aperitif wine!    

We had a great dinner at Cotogna despite some service mishaps.  We weren’t even done with our starter before our main course came out, a huge pet peeve of mine, we hadn’t even been sitting for 20 minutes!  We sent it back to wait for us in the kitchen and stay warm while we enjoyed the last sips of Lambrusco.  While we didn’t get any pizza or pasta, I gather that’s what this restaurant does best and I would probably stick to those sections of the menu next time.  
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