Northern fizz

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No one, it is said, ever lost money by under-estimating the taste of the American public. The great Lambrusco row suggests that the same might be said of the British, at least when that taste pertains to wine.

No one, it is said, ever lost money by under-estimating the taste of the American public. The great Lambrusco row suggests that the same might be said of the British, at least when that taste pertains to wine.

When it's a matter of washing some of the hearty local fare in a down-to-earth ristorante in Modena or Ferrara, red Lambrusco is fine; fizzy, a mite sweet and a touch understrength, perhaps, but, if decently chilled, cheerful as well as cheap.

However, the good wine-makers of Italy must learn that in these dark northern islands, such niceties do not apply. Good luck to them in their lawsuit against the makers of the product called Lambrini Bianco (ideal for "lower-class women" in the words of the manufacturer), whom the Italians accuse of stealing their brand and making a fortune.

But we are not optimistic they will prevail. The island race may not know too much about wine (the fact that Lambrini Bianco is produced in Liverpool tells its own story). But we are not so dumb we can't tell a Lambrini from a Lambrusco (or a Lamborghini for that matter). If the Italians are worried about lost sales, the answer is simple. Make something even tackier than Lambrini. We'll drink it.

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