- Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Luciano Saetti is one of a newer generation of Lambrusco growers thinking about this much-maligned, mass-produced wine in a more modern—which is to say more old-fashioned, artisanal—way. His family planted the vines in 1964 and historically sold off most of their fruit to a local co-op. But Luciano thought that they could do better with their old vines and their particular strain of the Lambrusco grape, called Salamino, which is thick-skinned, tight-bunched, darker-colored and higher in acidity than some other variations on Lambrusco. He converted the farming to organic (certified) and started bottling estate wines, notable for being among other things completely dry wines.
The vineyard and cellar work are meticulous. No sulfur is used at any point, not since the 2007 vintage. Grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed and crushed in the field in small 100-liter steel containers for maximum freshness. Rare for Lambrusco, the secondary fermentation takes place in bottle, initiated by the addition of fresh grape must in the spring following the vintage, and is fermented to dryness. The bottles are riddled and disgorged by hand. Saetti produces two wines: a red Lambrusco called "Rosso Viola" and classified as IGP Salamino di Santa Croce, and a deeply colored rosato called "Il Cadetto" under the IGP Rosato dell'Emilia. With their natural, earthy, complex, dry character, the Saetti wines defy the old but enduring reputation of Lambrusco.
Click here for Eric Asimov's take on Saetti in the New York Times on April 27, 2017.