Do you prefer to drink your carbs rather than eat them? Check out this gluten free brunch paired with wines from one of Italy's best lambrusco producers.
To celebrate World Lambrusco day in June, the Italian Food Wine & Travel (#italinfwt) group is exploring these classic wines from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.
I previously explored pairing these wines with fast food to spectacular aplomb (well at least I thought so).
Why does food pairing with Lambrusco wines work so well?
Lambrusco wines are fun, light headed, low alcohol bubbles that can pair with just about anything. From lightweight vegetables and seafood to heavy laden meat and cheese sauces, the rule is that there are no rules. Anything goes.
Maybe that's why I love them so much. Since they can range in sweetness and can handle sweet desserts, these are nice "starter" wines for those unaccustomed to the acidity of drier wine.
While I happily drank sweeter Lambruscos in my more youthful days, I now prefer the drier versions.
I found two unusual bottles of a white and rose Lambrusco from Lini 910. Since they were light in color and just 11% in alcohol, they screamed "DAY DRINKING" at me, and I thought they would make the consummate companion for brunch.
Instead of the usual brunch suspects, I tinkered with some gluten free, sugar free dishes I've been wanting to try.
A Gluten Free, Sugar Free Brunch
- Turmeric Tofu Scramble - organic zucchini, nutritional yeast (always wondered why you would mush tofu like mashed potatoes, but I actually loved the end product)
- Almond Flour Keto Pancakes - fresh strawberries, zero calorie monkfruit "maple" syrup (which is quite frankly icky on its own but actually delightfully edible with the pancake)
- Heirloom Tomatoes with Black Eyed Peas - Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, black pepper (inspired from a cookbook by Tyler Florence that really did deliver as an alternative to a traditional caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella cheese)
- Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon - minced shallots, capers (not an experiment but just needed an excuse to splurge on wild smoked salmon!)
- Deviled Eggs - avocado oil mayo, dijon mustard, chives (if deviled eggs can't get any better, the avocado oil mayo truly puts them in another stratosphere)
Lini 910 Labrusca Wines
Lini 910 has been producing wine since 1910 is now in its 4th generation as a winemaking family. Labrusca is the ancient Roman name for the grapes used to make dry Lambrusco.
Located in Corregio, in the heart of lambrusco territory, they made the first ever Lambrusco that landed in the Top 100 Wines of Italy list from Wine Spectator.
The two bottles I tried, a Rosso and Bianc, were non-vintage, frizzante style, lightly sparkling wines made in the charmat method.
Lini "Labrusca" Lambrusco Rosso
50% Salomino, 50% Sorbara grapes; 11% alcohol; $15
Visual: Va va voom! Fresh pressed blackberries and black cherry juice. The little bit of dissipating white foam that makes the color pop
Aroma: some watermelon, d'anjou pear, not as fragrant as the Bianca lambrusco
Taste: The uninviting white shoulders of not fully ripened strawberries; a slightly cold shower; tart and sassy
Pairing: Brightens up my tofu "eggs" that are winning me over with each bite; brings forth latent flavors cranberry, raspberry, and summery freshness.
So good with the tomato salad and plays with the beany goodness of the black eyed peas and complexity of the balsamic vinegar. Plays with basil well too bringing out extra herbiness.
Also stellar with fresh strawberries. Takes away the cold, white shoulders, sourpuss attitude, and brings out sweetness, mint, pleasing salinity.
Tempers the saltiness of the smoked salmon and brings out more ocean breeze.
No go with the monkfruit maple syrup or the strawberries. Just a tad too sweet for this sourish wine.
Goes better with the deviled eggs than the Biano wine. The vinegar and creaminess in the egg accentuates the tartness in the wine.
Lini "Labrusca" Lambrusco Emilia Bianco
100% Salomino grapes; 11% alcohol; $15
The "Labrusca" Bianco was inspired by wines that local farmers made in the winemaker Fabio Lini's youth.
Visual: golden tinge, straw, hay, little tiny beads, Rumpelstiltskin braid
Aroma: honeysuckle, pink cotton candy, almost ripe pears, gardenia blossoms
Taste: slightly sweet finish, a little flat champagnish, golden delicious apple
Pairing: Pairs best with the fresh tomato salad. Brings out the herbiness in the basil.
Leaves out the fishiness in the smoked salmon and tempers the raw shallots. Makes the capers snap, crackle, and pop!
Surprisingly nice with the tofu scramble and provides a smooth finish with the turmeric.
Sadly, washes out the sweetness on the "maple" syrup pancakes and is too delicate for the deviled eggs.
Fresh strawberries are often accompanied with champagne, but they do 10x better with this Bianco lambrusco. The bubbles are brighter, the finish is stronger, and it feels like you could savor those strawberries all day.
Lini 910 Lambrusco Wine Pairing Takeaways
After all that eating and drinking, here are my top 5 takeaways for this brunch and lambrusco pairing:
- Tart needs tart. These wines have a distinct zippy quality that matches the acidity of fresh tomatoes, strawberries, and peppery basil.
- Sour meets bland = Fireworks? You wouldn't think a wine could brighten up tofu, but with the right combination of spices and acidity, anything could happen in your mouth.
- Neither of the wines went with with my deviled eggs. The fizz was not enough powerful enough for the creamy yolks, but they were still so good just to eat on their own.
- I would buy the pink rosso lambrusco again. It is quite tart, had a beautiful color, and would make an apt companion with seafood. The Bianco lambrusco had a little more character, but there are just too many other white sparklers (cava, prosecco, champagne) on the market to compete with (and I've got to try them all!).
- Overall, I'm quite happy with the pairing of lighter Lambruscos with brunch. The low alcohol and little bubbles are a welcoming start to a long, lazy Saturday morning at home. Cartoons would be welcome too.
Learn more about Lambrusco wines
Check out these posts from the Italian Food, Wine, & Travel writers to learn more about these sparkling Lambrusco wines:
- Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares "Cantina Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara 2018 for #WorldLambruscoDay"
- Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm posts "A Dry Lambrusco?! Well, yes please"
- Nicole Ruiz Hudson from Somms Table adds "The Lighter Side of Lambrusco"
- Pinny Tam from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings brings "A Dry Lambrusco from Riunite with One-Person Shabu-shabu Dinner"
- Jeff Burrows from Food Wine Click! writes "Classic Aperitivo from Emilia-Romagna"
- Lynn Gowdy from Savor the Harvest says "Time for Lambrusco"
- Robin Bell Renken from Crushed Grape Chronicles pens "Banish me to Mantua, with a glass of Lambrusco Mantovano"
- Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley from Wine Predator suggests "Celebrate Summer with a Dry RED Sparkling Wine: Lambrusco to the Rescue!"
- Terri Oliver Steffes from Our Good Life joins with "5 Things I Learned about Lambrusco and the Best Food Pairings"
- Host Susannah at Avvinare will showcase "Versatile Lambrusco, A Wine For Every Mood"