Picture of five wines and bottles

Lambrusco Wines: High Quality and Versatility for Any Occasion

Growing up in Washington, DC, Lambrusco wines were thought as cheap, soda pop like sweet fizzy juice that was mass produced, much has changed since the 70’s.

When shopping for new wines to taste, perhaps you’ve glided right by the Lambrusco, unsure of what you might find within. The name Lambrusco refers to the family of grape varietals it is made with that all share a common thread. So they’re very similar yet different. Which opens the door for a complex experience that is vibrant and lively. Perfect for any occasion and the most food friendly wines from a simple dinner of pizza to a celebration with friends to share and enjoy this sparkling red delight.

Lambrusco, in fact, is the oldest wine produced in the entire Emilia-Romagna region dating as far back as the 13th Century and is documented as a varietal in 1596. This wild grape was well known by the Etruscans and Romans.

In Emilia, Lambrusco’s are the main red varietals produced and is a large family with 8 closely related varietals. There are many styles of Lambrusco that are clustered in Reggio, Emilia and Modena. Each one brings with it a unique taste that is worth sampling. These three are the most popular and I believe greatest quality.

Lambrusco di Sorbara

This Lambrusco’s grand cru area is located between the Secchia and Panaro rivers near Modena. Examples are also produced around the towns of Correggio, Rubiera, and San Martino in Rio in the province of Reggio Emilia. It’s the oldest, most famous and abundant Lambrusco. A very pale pink to bright red with just a tinge of violet has a magical perfume of violets and flavors of red currants, cranberries and strawberries. Possessing high acid with a delicate texture. It’s dry yet lively and a distinctively well-balanced flavor.

Lambrusco Grasparossa

Generally considered the best of the Lambruscos. Its growing region is located in the provinces of Modena and Mantova, and can be essentially divided into the high hills and the lower hillside vineyards. The dry and fertile sloping hills surrounding the village of Castelvetro are the ideal place for this version of Lambrusco and produces bigger, fuller-bodied wines. Ripe black cherry and dark plum aromas and flavors.

Lambrusco Salamino

Commonly called Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, as it originates from the plains of Santa Croce di Carpi near Modena. Deep and intense in red color it has aromas of violet, rose, and small, red, and dark berries, and though fairly tannic, can be almost creamy,
the intense and fruity bouquet will instantly brighten your mood even before the first sip hits your lips.

Styles

Lambrusco’s are made in Secco style (Dry), Semi-Secco style (off-dry) and more rarely Dolce style (sweet). Each Lambrusco is different and has a fascinating story to tell. Whichever Lambrusco you choose to taste, the effervescence and fruity flavors are a beautiful match for most cuisines. Ideally suited to those in the regions from which the hail. However if you’re far from Northern Italy, you’ll find Lambrusco goes beautifully with most epicurean offerings and makes a perfect aperitif to enjoy with good company.

Some of my selections

Sorbrara-

Cleto Chiarli “Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC

Grasparossa-

Fattoria Moretto Monovitgno Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC

Salamino-

Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco Reggiano DOC

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