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Monday, March 2, 2009

Cheap Wines That Don't Suck: Freschello Rosso

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Americans know Lambrusco mostly from Banfi's Riunite, a cloyingly sweet wine developed to appeal to people used to drinking Coca Cola with their meals. In its home ground, Bologna and the surrounding region of Emilia, the usual version is a dry, slightly fizzy, low-alcohol red that pairs very well with the region's rich specialties, such as tortelloni and lasagne. The wine's a bit of a hard sell here--people see fizzy red and think cold duck--but if you can get people to try it, most like it.

Freschello (fress-KELL-oh), a newish nonvintage red from Cielo e Terra in the the Colli Berici district of the neighboring Veneto region, follows the same model. Like Lambrusco. it's dry, very light-bodied, relatively low in alcohol (10.5%), slightly fizzy, and best served slightly cool (60-65 degrees). The grape variety or varieties aren't specified, but it's reminiscent of Valpolicella, with an aroma of dried figs, a fresh, fruity flavor with hints of black tea, and a slightly bitter, refreshing finish. The wine makes a pleasant aperitif, and goes well with all sorts of foods.


(201 Bayshore, 3445 Geary, 1301 Van Ness) seems to be the only place

that carries it. They list the wine at $8.99, which would be no

bargain, but it's usually marked down to $5.99 for ClubBev members, and

is occasionaly part of the one-cent sale, which brings the price down

to $4.50. I've gone through half a dozen bottles of the red purchased

at a few different branches, and haven't noticed any bottle variation.

I also tried a bottle of the white, but it was spoiled, so I returned

it. That's one drawback to most nonvintage wines: there's no date on

the bottle, so without opening one it's hard to guess whether it might

be too old.


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Robert Lauriston


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