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Cinque Campi

Vanni Nizzoli is a wine artisan, a natural warrior. He took over his family farm based in the hills around Puianello di Quattro Castella in Northern Emilia in 2003 and wasted no time in converting it to organic production. They had always worked naturally at their farm but wine making had been only for family and friends.

In 2005 they started to replant their historic vineyards with traditional local varieties like Spergola, Lambrusco Grasparossa and Malbo Gentile but also some international varieties like Marzemino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat and Carmenere. The ancient soils are 20% sand, 45% silt, 35% clay, a 'terroir' in which the native grapes and the carefully selected new vines thrive and produce wines of quality and personality.

The name of Puianello di Quattro Castella comes from the four castles built on each of the four hills that characterize the landscape; Monte Vetro, Bianello, Monte Lucio and Monte Zagno. This is Lambrusco country, that traditional frothy, Italian wine which is so misunderstood and which has spawned so many dreadful alter-egos. Let's not even mention the Lambrini girls!

The Lambrusco grape has been cultivated principally around the central provinces of Modena, Parma, Reggio nell'Emilia, and Mantua since Etruscan times and the Romans valued the grape highly for its productivity and quality. Lambrusco has always been produced its own unique style, a dry, fruity red wine with a natural frothiness. The gentle bubbles are generally produced using the Charmant method (like a Prosecco), which means a second fermentation in the vat before bottling the slightly fizzy wine under pressure. However, more and more producers are favouring bottle fermentation and ageing on the lees (like a Champagne) and also making fizzy wines from the white grapes of the region like Spergola and Trebbiano.

Lambrusco and other frothy wines from Emilia are both traditional and appealing. Slightly fizzy red wine takes a little getting used to when we in the UK are so used to still red wines. However, the uplifting nature of bubbles makes frothy reds fun, fresh and fantastically easy drinking. The savoury element and tannins keep them firmly in the ‘with food’ camp too. They can be drunk from the fridge on a warm summers evening or at room temp with a Lasagna in mid winter. Lambrusco is nothing if not versatile.

At Cinque Campi, natural is the watch word, they have always worked this way but Vanni has moved things on a lot. They are certified organic and use biodynamic preparations in the vineyards. All fermentations are natural, very little temperature control is used and the wines never see any sulphur at all. They all have a nervous edgy energy to them and the froth is reassuringly unpredictable, sometimes exploding from the glass, other times, remaining quite tame. Both still and frothy are excellent and the prices are superb considering only a handful of cases are made each year.

Give bubbles a try, Vanni’s are some of the best and we love them all but the Terbianc made with a second ferment in bottle from low yielding Trebbiano is a belter!