Lambrusco Wine Italy

What is Lambrusco Wine?

Lambrusco is a sparkling wine produced in Emilia-Romagna. It has a reputation for being very food-friendly and excellent value.

Lambrusco is known to be an industrial-scale production of sweet, easy-drinking, and even uninteresting sparkling wines. This is not entirely fair as there are some very fine examples of Lambrusco wine made with the same care that goes into higher-quality wine.

It is made from a closely related family of grapes from Emilia Romagna, specifically: Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa (di Castelvetro), Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Salamino, and Lambrusco Viadanese (also known as Lambrusco Mantovano).

This grape grows mainly in Emilia-Romagna, but there are a few vineyards in Lombardy and Puglia.

Lambrusco varies from light to full-bodied and displays red and black fruit. Smell and taste will change depending on the Lambrusco grape and its vinification.

For example, Lambrusco di Sorbara is light-bodied with violet, red currant, strawberry, and lots of acidity.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lambrusco Grasparossa is full-bodied and tannic with black cherry, plum, and almond notes. It’s a good idea to serve Lambrusco slightly chilled to fully enjoy its flavors.

Lambrusco vineyard
Lambrusco Vineyard

What does Lambrusco go with?

The possibilities for food pairings are vast with such a wide range of Lambrusco grapes. The adage “what grows together, goes together” fits Lambrusco perfectly. Emilia-Romagna is the region of balsamic vinegar of Modena, Bolognese sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Lambrusco goes perfectly with all of this.

What is the origin of Lambrusco?

The Lambrusco cultivation has its roots in ancient Roman times. Due to its ease of growth and robustness, armies and travelers took Lambrusco with them on their travels.

Lambrusco is also mentioned in the works of the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder and the poet Virgil. While it has a reputation for producing mass-produced, sweet wines, Lambrusco is experiencing something of a renaissance.

Today, winemakers are perfecting their winemaking methods and producing drier, more flavorful styles of this great-value wine.

How is Lambrusco made?

Most Lambrusco is made with the Charmat (tank) method. This is how Italy’s other popular bubbly, Prosecco, is made. The wine sees double fermentation inside a large pressurized tank and the emphasis is on promoting a fruity profile in the wine.

A smaller number of ambitious wineries produce Lambrusco in the traditional method which is how Champagne is made. In this complex method, a second fermentation takes place in the bottle.

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