Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dry Lambrusco and Salumi. Yumm!

I was really enjoying myself the other day at Bar Bambino in the Mission District of San Francisco having one of the most heavenly pairings that's a tradition in Emilia-Romagna, a cool glass of dry Lambrusco and Prosciutto. But the latter was not from Parma but La Quercia Farm's superb American Prosciutto.

Similar to Spain's Jamon Iberico de Bellota, La Quercia's Prosciutto is from acorn-fed, free-range pig (100% Berkshire not the black-hooves of Spain). Robert Parker (yes, the wine guy) compared it favorably to Spain's best Jamon de Bellota, Joselito's Gran Reserva. I've had Joselito's Gran Reserva a few times, but to my taste Sanchez Romero Carvajal's Cinco Jotas Jabugo is the best jamon. But I digress.

Bar Bambino also features house-cured salumi, which totally surprised me by how good they were. Even next to the La Quercia Prosciutto, I found myself picking on the house-cured salumi more. I was told they're made from scraps of meat! Goes to show that left-overs taste better.

But what really enhanced the salumi and elevated my nibbling was the spectacular 2008 Lambrusco-Emilia IGT from Mauro Zini. So it is not your grandfather's sweet, mass-produced Riunite Lambrusco. This is the dry Lambrusco made from Lambrusco Salamino di Santacroce, with a bit of Malbo Gentile. Appropriately, the tiny berries of this particular Lambrusco is said to resemble a salami, hence Salamino. It is made with skin contact for over 72 hours for a deeper extraction of color and flavor. Served on the cool side, not chilled, this Lambrusco's distinctive scent of iron and rust, slight fizz, bright black cherry flavor, and hints of mineral and plums marry so well with the assortment of salumi.

Watch for the arrival of the 2008 Mauro Zini Lambrusco-Emilia at Vineyard Gate soon!

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