Driving a Lamborghini
Not the car, though. The wine.
That's right: A label bearing the familiar signature logo of Lamborghini, one of the world's sportiest autos - and one of the most expensive - recently caught my eye at the wine shop.
A little research revealed that the Lamborghini family has been into wine for quite a while: Ferruccio Lamborghini, the auto-maker, purchased vineyard land near the beautiful Lake Trasimeno in Umbria in 1971, where he grew grapes and made wine as a hobby. He sold a bit of the wine commercially over the years, but it was only a few years ago that his daughter, Patrizia Lamborghini, turned it into a serious business, upgrading the facilities and hiring winemaker Riccardo Cotarella to take charge.
Umbria borders Tuscany, and many of its red wines - like Chianti and most of the other Tuscan reds - are based on the Sangiovese grape. Lamborghini's top red, called Campoleone, is half Sangiovese and half Merlot. Its second wine, Trescone, is half Sangiovese, 20 percent Merlot and 30 percent Ciliegiolo, a fairly rare red grape that's native to Tuscany and Umbria.
The Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 sports car (pictured in the HTML/graphics edition) costs about $250,000. The Lamborghini Campoleone costs $50 to $60 at most retail shops in the U.S. The Trescone costs $12.99. Guess which one I gave my Valentine.
It was an interesting wine, though, if an odd one, earthy and barnyardy in a rustic, Old World style that likely reflects more than a dash of the wild yeast brettanomyces.
Lamborghini 2000 "Trescone" Umbria Rosso ($12.99)
Very dark ruby, almost black, with reddish highlights against the light. Full, plummy fruit aromas against an extremely earthy background, somewhat reminiscent of eating Roquefort cheese in a barnyard. (I am not kidding about this.) Ripe and soft in flavor, juicy fruit and crisp acidity that's just sufficient for balance. An odd wine, very "rustic" in style, an easy quaff and good with food, but even for a fancier of "old world" wines like me, this level of earthiness comes close to being challenging. U.S. importer: Winebow Inc., NYC; a Leonardo Locascio selection. (Jan. 30, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: Rare steak, specifically a pan-roasted ribeye, works well, as it so often does, to show a dry red wine at its best.
VALUE: Very good value, provided that you like this rustic style.
WHEN TO DRINK: Drink soon, best this year. The wine's soft structure doesn't suggest ageworthiness, and its extreme earthy quality makes its future development unpredictable at best.
WEB LINK: Lamborghini's Website is available in Italian and English. The English-language fact sheet on Trescone is at
For the U.S. importer's information page about Lamborghini, see
Meanwhile, if you can't resist ogling some Lamborghini automobiles online (and if you have the Flash plug-in and a high-speed connection, without which the site is pretty much useless), here's a link:
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Friday, Feb. 14, 2003