Grapelive Tastes the gorgeous Quarticello Frizzante wines of Roberto Maestri
By Kerry Winslow
Lambrusco, yes Lambrusco is is the new it wine, especially the new generation of artisan wines led by Roberto Maestri of Quarticello of Emilia Romagna, he is crafting wonderful examples of this old school classic sparkling red wine and a few other delights from this region of Italy near the famed city of Parma. These wonderful hand crafted Frizzante wines are stunning expressions of quality and unique character, don’t miss out on the Lambrusco revolution, and be sure to check out these three selections.
2012 Quarticello “Despina” Malvasia Emilia I.G.T. Frizzante, Emilia Romagna, Italy.
This unique white “Lambrusco” is made from Malvasia Aromatica di Candia 100%, and is crafted by the talented Roberto Maestri of Quarticello, in Emilia Romagna, close to Parma, Italy. Once known as a barely drinkable, slightly sparkling, red wine for old men, Lambrusco and Frizzante Natural wines are going through an amazing transformation, a revolution, and now are made in great quality, artisan style by a new generation, and best of all everyone is getting into these unique and fun wines. While Maestri’s Despina is not technically a Lambrusco, since it is white it is produced in the same spirit and it is alluring and seductive with exotic perfume, essences and lovely spritz showing ginger, jasmine, verbena and saline notes before a palate of lemon/lime, dried apricots, spiced pear, pineapple and tangerine, plus there is white pepper, brine and clove. A soft hint of honey lingers, but it is the savory freshness that stands out, this is such a cool wine, it is sexy and fun from start to finish, this unfiltered sparkling is a must try wine.
($18 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2011Quarticello “Neromaestri” Lambrusco Emilia I.G.T. Frizzante, Emilia Romagna, Italy.
Roberto Maestri’s fantastic Meromaestri Lambrusco is a full scale and tannic Lambrusco that is hand crafted from Lambrusco Maestri 50%, Lambrusco Grasparossa 30%, Malbo Gentile 10%, Ancellotta 10%, making for a very serious wine that would pair with hardy cuisine and is strikingly impressive. This Lambrusco is intense, but refined and well mannered, this is a style that would even appeal to sworn Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers and even more intellectual types as well, this is not your grandpappy’s Lambrusco. Dark and fizzy with a chewy palate and firm structure this serious and well made Lambrusco is made for BBQ, smoked or cured ham and or hard cheeses with blackberry, briar spice, cherry and dried currants, hints of juicy plum, christmas spices, mineral notes and salted licorice, finishing fruity but feeling dusty dry. Trust me the trend for well made Lambrusco is here and it’s real, these Quarticello versions are super examples and rare pleasures, be sure to check them out.
($18 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2011Quarticello “Barbacane” Lambrusco Emilia I.G.T. Frizzante, Emilia Romagna, Italy.
Quatricello’s Frizzante Barbacane is a Lambrusco cuvee of Lambrusco Maestri 40%, Lambrusco Salamino 40%, Malbo Gentile 20%, and it is Roberto Maestri’s most classic in style with a lighter and restrained feel, though not less serious or less in character, this is great drinking Lambrusco, a wonderfully easy and lovable fizzy red from Emilia Romagna. Bright, fruity and with a nice tangy edge the Barbacane shows plum, red cherry, boysenberry, spiced currants, candied orange peel and anise notes. I can imagine sipping on this frizzante all day long, chilled and refreshing with picnic fare, and lots of Parma ham and shaved cheese, sounds heavenly on relaxed day with family or friends. Lambrusco’s revival is on, and it is because of talented and passionate winemakers like Roberto Maesti of Quarticello and wines of delicious character like this one that is driving this train. I can’t wait to grab a few bottles myself and hope to see it poured by the glass at a rustic trattoria in my own neighborhood, like they do at Corso Trattoria in Berkeley, simple honest pleasure.
($16 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
The Roberto Maestri Quarticello Lambrusco wines are imported by Return to Terroir, a big thank to them for letting me have a chance to taste them, plus Corso Trattoria in Berkeley for introducing me to them with wonderful cuisine as well, Grazie!