Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Riunite Lambrusco

You can't always drink from the top shelf, but there's no reason you can't enjoy what the moment brings.  I found that out recently in downtown Wilkes-Barre at a bar called Bart & Urby's.
I guess I really should have ordered an ale or stout - the establishment serves a rather impressive array of domestic, imported and microbrewed varieties.  The wine list has only a few options: Beringer, Fetzer, Yellowtail and - what's this? - Riunite!  Holy cow, I've never actually had a Riunite.  It must be time.
I ordered the Lambrusco with visions of saying "yes" to Martini and Rossi on the rocks and Bartles and Jaymes thanking me for my support.  I don't recall the actual TV commercial jingle for Riunite, but I know it's in the memory bank somewhere and it's filed right alongside the taglines I do remember.  I probably never had Riunite because in the early '70s I was too busy sneaking my mom's Spanada from the refrigerator.
The Riunite website explains the different varieties of Lambrusco grapes they use: "Lambrusco Marani imparts brightness, taste, perfume and color; Lambrusco Salamino, for perfume and harmony; Lambrusco Maestri, for fruitiness and body; Lambrusco Montericco for added body and perfume and finally Lancellotta (also known as Ancelotta) sometimes referred to as the "missing grape," which is responsible for the very fresh and abundantly fruity character of Riunite's Lambrusco."
They also explain that Lambrusco is a "unique Italian grape variety grown principally in the three central provinces of Emilia - Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia."
The Lambrusco arrived on the Bart & Urby's patio and my first whiff of the dark juice reminded me somewhat of Welches grape juice, but more of Spanada.  It was served chilled, and was a sweet and refreshing cross of grape and cranberry juice flavors.  It won't be a regular choice for me, but it hit the spot so well at this moment that I ordered another.  Leave the top shelf for another evening.

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