When was the last time you enjoyed Lambrusco? Yeah, that’s what I thought, me too.
The thing is, it’s so versatile and food friendly– from fruity and quaffable to rather big and sometimes complex.
The Lambrusco Clan
Lambrusco is both an Italian red grape and a wine made from said grape. It’s a large clan (upwards of 60 varieties) that call Emilia Romagna home, specifically in and around the cities of Reggio-Emilio and Modena, bot ultimate Italian food areas! They grow in Lombardy, Trentino, Veneto and Puglia too but are difficult to find.
The good thing is you only need to know five (from lightest to darkest color): Lambrusco Sorbara, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Grasparossa, and Lambrusco Maestri.
Making the choice even easier, know Lambrusco di Sorbara results in the palest and lightest wines yet intensely fragrant. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Lambrusco Grasparossa is dark (both color and flavors), fleshier and fuller-bodied producing a more tannic wine.
Lambrusco Salamino falls in the middle with characteristics of both Sorbara and Grasparossa- fruity and fresh, brisk and fleshy.
Lambrusco Marani continues to fall out of fancy in favor of the fruitier and richer Lambrusco Maestri.
Finally, know many bottles are fantastic blends of Lambrusco varieties.
Foamy, Fizzy, Fantastic
When you pour a glass, it bubbles and foams, similar to pouring a beer. They are made in the Charmant method where the second fermentation completes in a tank versus bottle. You end up with either a frizzante (semi-sparkling with 1-2.5 bars of pressure) or spumante (fully sparkling with 3 bars of pressure) wine. And some producers are going back to the ancestral method (bottled before the end of fermentation, fermentation finishes in the bottle).
Lambrusco is most often made in dry (secco) and off-dry (semi-secco or amabile), or less common sweet (dolce) styles. You have to know what to look for on the label to get what you want. Even better, find a good wine shop who can steer you towards your preferred style.
In My Glass: Villa del Vento, Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC
Indirectly from the Medici Ermete winery, this is their Villa Del Vento brand made under their Cantini Bema label. It pours a profound strawberry color with a touch of foaminess; Cherry, strawberry and bramble aromas with a hint of bitterness waft from the glass. The palate evokes cherry-strawberry bitters and candied nectarine. Brisk acidity gives it a dry but gentle, tickly finish. A super fun wine at just 11% alcohol and 9€.
About the Winery: Remigio Medici started Medici Ermete in 1890 on the Via Emilia road between the towns Parma and Reggio Emilia. It is run by the fifth generation of the family today. They own 80 hectares of organic vineyards and also work with growers. In addition to their Medici Ermete wines (both spumante and still), they make wines under a few other brands for different markets in various places around the world: the wine I tasted is one- Villa del Vento. This particular label is not sold in the U.S. However it is available under a different brand- Quercioli Sorbara. When asked about agricultural practices of the grower producers, fourth generation Pierluigi Medici shared they pay a lot of attention to the sustainability of their vine growing partners! They also have water conservation and energy efficiency programs.
Their organic Concerto Lambrusco Reggiano is easily found in the U.S. via importer Kobrand. It’s one of the great Lambrusco available today. Their newer ‘Lambrusco di Sorbara Phermento’ (made via the ancestral method) is turning heads!
Whichever you select, Lambrusco is sure to elevate your afternoon or evening.
Italian Food, Wine Travel Group Talks Lambrusco
Our host Susannah Gold of Vigneto Communications chose Lambrusco this month as the #ItalianFWT group topic, coinciding with World Lambrusco Day June 21st. Find her invite post here and our #ItalianFWT group tasty line up just below. Twitter chat Saturday 5-June at 11am EDT!
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Cantina Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara 2018 for #WorldLambruscoDay.
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm posts A Dry Lambrusco?! Well, yes please.
- Nicole Ruiz Hudson from Somm’s Table adds The Lighter Side of Lambrusco.
- Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings brings A Dry Lambrusco from Riunite with One-Person Shabu-shabu Dinner.
- Jeff from Food Wine Click! writes Classic Aperitivo from Emilia-Romagna.
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest says Time for Lambrusco.
- Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles pens Banish me to Mantua, with a glass of Lambrusco Mantovano.
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator suggests Celebrate Summer with a Dry RED Sparkling Wine: Lambrusco to the Rescue!
- Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen showcases A Gluten Free Brunch Paired with Lini Labrusca Wines.
- Terri from Our Good Life joins with 5 Things I Learned about Lambrusco and the Best Food Pairings.
- Host Susannah at Avvinare will showcase Versatile Lambrusco, A Wine For Every Mood.
What to know about Lambrusco
–> It takes the heat off in warmer months- serve it chilled from fridge temp to 55℉.
–> It loves to be paired with foods- simple to complex. Ideas: grilled goat cheese stuffed figs wrapped with prosciutto, BBQ anything, Caesar salad, lasagna, pizza.
–> It begs ‘sip me for aperitivo!’.
–> It’s affordable, well under the $25 mark for most.
–> The majority are meant for drinking young so don’t put it in the back of your wine storage and forget about it.
–> Most bottles are saberable.
–> Head to Consorzio Lambrusco’s webpage for all things Lambrusco.