Lambrusco is a dark red grape variety used to produce the semi sparkling red wine in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. The Six most commonly found, and used, Lambrusco varieties are Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Monterrico, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Sorbara and Lambrusco Salamino, but over 60 Lambrusco sub varieties have been identified so far. Lambrusco wines are delightfully refreshing, with a slight sparkle. They are Zesty on the palate, with fresh fruit flavors and a clean finish. Lambrusco is an ancient grape, first being cultivated and enjoyed by the ancient Romans.
The DOC regions for Lambrusco include Reggio Emilia, through Modena, to Bologna and up to Mantova. These areas produce six different Lambrusco wines, using different varietals of the Lambrusco grape:
Lambrusco Rosato: This relatively new Lambrusco is partially fermented off the skins, producing a lighter wine.
Lambrusco Mantovano: This ruby red, light bodied Lambrusco is produced with the Maestri, Montericco, Salamino and Marani varietals.
Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro: This Lambrusco is produced in the province of Modena, using the Grasparossa varietal. They tend to have a very pronounced bouquet and considerable tannic structure.
Lambrusco Reggiano: This Lambrusco is made using the Salamino, Marani, Maestri and Montericco varietals, with up to 15% Ancellotta. They are light bodied wines.
Lambrusco di Sorbara: Produced in the Modena Province from 60% Sorbara and 40% Salamino. These wines have a lively sparkle and high acidity.
Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce: Produced in the Modena province, from the Salamino varietal, with up to 15% other varietals. These wines tend to carry more structure than most Lambrusco wines.
Lambrusco is one of the oldest grape vines of Italy. These grape vines originated in four zones in Emilia-Romagna, and one in Lombardy around the provinces of Modena, Parma, Mantua and Reggio nell'Emilia. There are records of the ancient Etruscans cultivating the grape before the Roman civilization developed. In Roman historical accounts, the grape was well known appreciated for producing a heavy crop on long vines.
Lambrusco wines became hugely popular in the United States and Northern Europe in the 1980s. To keep up with demand producers moved away from the methode traditionelle method of secondary fermentation in the bottle, and started using the Charmat method, which is the secondary fermentation in large steel tanks. This huge demand led to a drop in quality of the Lambrusco wines produced.
The growing areas for Lambrusco include Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco Mantovano, Lambrusco Reggiano, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce and Lambrusco di Sorbara. The different styles produced in these areas can be read about in the introduction.
Lambrusco can be either dry or sweet, and are labelled with either Secco(dry) or Amabile(sweet). Lambrusco wines are usually ruby red in color, have slight bubbles, with fruit and floral aromas. They are lighter style wines with fresh and fruity flavors, and relatively high acidity giving them a crisp finish. This wine is perfect for a hot summers day and pairs well with antipasto, Italian cheeses, and BBQ chicken.