“I love Lambrusco!” declares Amanda Pierce, general manager of Daphne’s in Westhampton Beach. “But a lot of people don’t know what it is, so I snuck it in the disguise of a spritz to get people to drink it.”
Pierce is kind of kidding, but also… kind of not. Lambrusco is where red wine-devoted drinkers and lovers of bubbles and rosé should joyfully meet on common ground. Unfortunately, it’s a wine that nabbed a bad rep when, in the 1970s, an über sweet, mass-marketed version of the wine under the Riunite label took America by sticky storm (“Reunite on ice! That’s nice!”). In the same way rosé producers had to work to distance themselves from white zinfandel (and hooray, did so quite successfully!), so Lambrusco has had to crawl inch-by-inch away from that sweet ’70s status.
Actually, there are really only three constant factors about Lambrusco: it’s lightly bubbly (frizzante), it’s red and it hails from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Because it’s made all over that region, there are myriad indigenous red grapes (latest count: around 60!) that can be used across the 7 Lambrusco-producing regions.
All that aside, what you want is a dryer style in order to make Pierce’s Siena Spritz, a gorgeous and clever combo of Lambrusco, amaro, blood orange juice and a splash of club. A little fruitiness balanced by just a hint of bitterness and tannin, it’s refreshing but more substantial than your typical spritz.
“Lambrusco is so underappreciated,” says Pierce. “I love red wine and I love sparkling drinks. And I love that this kinda embodies all of that.”
Daphne’s Siena Spritz
- 1 1/2 oz amaro of your choice
- 3/4 oz blood orange juice (fresh orange juice may be substituted)
- 3 oz dry-style Lambrusco
- 1/2 oz club soda
- 1 amarena cherry
- 1 orange twist