Want to explore all about the crisp Lambrusco wine and find the best bottles for your collection?
Hailing from the Italian wine region of Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco is a red grape that is used to make exuberant sparkling Red Wine and rosé wines. It is one of the oldest grape varieties with origins that can be traced back to the 1st century Etruscan civilization of ancient Italy!
What are the different varieties of Lambrusco grape? What are the characteristics of Lambrusco wine?
And, which are the best bottles you should buy for your wine cellar?
In this article, explore everything you need to know about Lambrusco wine - the Lambrusco grape, winemaking techniques, and the best wines to buy in 2020. You’ll also discover the easiest way to buy Lambrusco wine!
This Article Contains:
(Click a link below to jump to a specific section)
- What is Lambrusco?
- Lambrusco wine making techniques
- The five Lambrusco DOC wine regions
- How does Lambrusco wine taste?
- Food pairings with Lambrusco
- The best Lambrusco wines of 2020
- Lini 910 in Correggio Rosso Metodo Classico Millesimato 2007
- Cantina della Volta Rosé Brut Lambrusco di Sorbara 2016
- Cantina della Volta ‘Christian Bellei’ Spumante Millesimato 2009
- Vittorio Graziano Fontana dei Boschi Lambrusco Emilia IGT 2016
- Vigneto Saetti ‘Il Cadetto’ Rosato dell’Emilia IGT 2016
- Paltrinieri ‘Grosso’ Lambrusco di Modena 2015
- Podere Magia Lambrusco dell’Emilia 2016
- Vigneto Saetti ‘RossoViola’ Lambrusco 2019
What is Lambrusco?
Lambrusco is both a variety of grape, as well as a type of wine - a lightly sparkling Italian wine like Prosecco and Asti Spumante.
Emilia Romagna and Lombardy in Northern Italy are the main producers of the Lambrusco grape and its delicious Italian wine.
There are over 60 types of Lambrusco grape variety, four of which are considered to be of higher quality than the others. These grape varieties are:
- Lambrusco Salamino
- Lambrusco Maestri
- Lambrusco di Sorbara
- Lambrusco Grasparossa
The Origin and Journey of Lambrusco
Lambrusco wine dates far back, all the way to the time of the ancient Etruscans who were around in Italy in 90BC. (This age-old sparkling wine is, funnily enough, best consumed young.)
The wine was extremely popular even until the late 20th century. However, in the 1970s, mass-produced bulk imported Lambrusco got a bad name as a cheap, sugary-sweet bottle of wine.
In the US, it might be difficult to disassociate artisanal Lambrusco from the soda-like Riunite Lambrusco that dominated the shelves during that period.
However, the time of poorly-made Riunite Lambrusco has passed, and Lambrusco has made a come-back recently as the delightful, sparkling red wine from the classical world.
Lambrusco wine making techniques
The wine is twice-fermented, and this is what makes it slightly bubbly. This fermentation process also bolsters the flavor and freshness of the wine.
There are two fermentation methods used to turn the red grape of the Lambrusco family into a lovely fizzy glass of sparkling Lambrusco:
- One is a traditional process of making Italian wine in the frizzante style, which is lengthy and requires utmost care. In this method, the second fermentation takes place inside the bottle itself rather than inside steel tanks.
- The other is the modern, widely used Charmat method. In the Charmat method, the second fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The Charmat method is more commonly used by most Prosecco and Lambrusco producers.
The five Lambrusco DOC wine regions
Lambrusco wine can only be made in Romagna and Lombardy.
There are four DOC regions that are designated as Lambrusco producers in Emilia Romagna and Lombardy. (DOC stands for ‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata’ in Italian, which means ‘Denomination of Controlled Origin’ - the Italian certification that regulates the wine region and the winemaking process.)
1. Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
The Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro is a delicious red wine with one of the highest tannin counts of all Lambrusco wines.
The DOC regulations stipulate that Lambrusco producers must use a minimum of 85% Lambrusco grapes.
It has a rich, deep purple colour that reflects the violet and berry fragrance of the wine. It is produced in Modena, one of the smaller wine-producing regions.
2. Lambrusco Reggiano
Lambrusco Reggiano has a sweet, fruity taste. Like the Grasparossa di Castelvetro, it has a lovely floral aroma and is also a red wine. However, the Reggiano has a low tannin count.
The sweet wine versions of Reggiano contain up to 15% Ancellotta grapes.
3. Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
There are two versions of this Lambrusco variety, a dry wine that is light and semi-sparkling, and a semi-sweet version.
This wine has a distinct ruby red color with purplish hues in the foam. The wine is bottled young, and like its counterparts, it has a floral and fruity flavor.
4. Lambrusco di Sorbara
This is a unique variety of grape from the Lambrusco family, as the vines in this region bloom with beautiful flowers increasing the floral flavor profile of the wine. This DOC produces a lovely Lambrusco rosè, as well as a sparkling red wine.
5. Lambrusco Mantovano
Lambrusco Mantovano is the only DOC in the Lombardy region that’s permitted to make Lambrusco wine (apart from the DOCs in the Emilia Romagna region.) This is usually a dry wine, which is either made as a red wine or as a rosè.
It has an exquisite ruby color and a delightful floral aroma. The alcohol by volume (ABV) of the wine is relatively low but higher than the other Lambrusco varieties because it is dry.
How does Lambrusco wine taste?
Lambrusco wines are usually fruity with floral aromas. They have the aroma of cherry, blackberry, strawberries as well as orange blossoms, rhubarb, and violet. Lambrusco is also occasionally creamy and milky.
Lambrusco is best to drink when young and fresh! It makes the perfect summer or spring wine because it is best served chilled. Also, due to its great ability to pair with many types of dishes, it can make an excellent dinner wine all year round.
Food pairings with Lambrusco Wine
Lambrusco wines pair well with the rich cuisine of the Emilia Romagna region. Needless to say, Romagna cuisine is a slice of Italy - pasta, cheese, fish, cured meat, olives, spaghetti bolognese, balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
So, perhaps, your next Thanksgiving dinner could be an Italian feast - an artisanal Lambrusco with grilled meat, roasted vegetables, a charcuterie board with delicious prosciutto di parma and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with warm Italian bread dipped in balsamic vinegar!
Is your mouth watering yet?
Now, here are the best Lambruscos that you should add to your wine collection.
The best Lambrusco Wines of 2020 (Including Prices, Tasting Notes)
1. Lini 910 in Correggio Rosso Metodo Classico Millesimato 2007
This Lambrusco variety is a clean and fresh dry wine. It is delightfully bubbly and is a deep purple red color.
It is fruity with delicate tasting notes of berries, almonds, and peaches. Pair it with a seafood meal on a summer afternoon or with thinly sliced prosciutto di parma.
Average price of Lini 910 in Correggio Rosso Metodo Classico Millesimato 2007: $35
2. Cantina della Volta Rosé Brut Lambrusco di Sorbara 2016
This is the most expensive Lambrusco from the Lambrusco di Sorbara vineyard. This sparkling Lambrusco has a light berry flavor, with notes of cream and pepper, and tastes exquisite with grilled meat and roasted vegetables.
Average price of Cantina della Volta Rosé Brut Lambrusco di Sorbara 2016: $25
3. Cantina della Volta ‘Christian Bellei’ Spumante Millesimato 2009
This sparkling Lambrusco by winemaker Cantina della Volta is an extremely unique one due to its pale golden color, which makes it look like a white wine.
As for the tasting notes, you’ll love the creamy, earthy citrus flavor. Pair this frizzante style wine with a meal of shellfish.
Average price of Cantina della Volta ‘Christian Bellei’ Spumante Millesimato 2009: $24
4. Vittorio Graziano Fontana dei Boschi Lambrusco Emilia IGT 2016
This is another beautiful frizzante style Lambrusco, with a delicious sour cherry and earthy flavor.
This wine comes from the vineyard of Vittorio Graziano in the Emilia Romagna region. Drink it along with some beautifully roasted root vegetables and slices of prosciutto di parma.
Average price of Vittorio Graziano Fontana dei Boschi Lambrusco Emilia IGT 2016: $23
5. Vigneto Saetti ‘Il Cadetto’ Rosato dell’Emilia IGT 2016
Northern Italy truly outdid itself with this beautiful sparkling red dry wine. This sparkling Lambrusco has a deep ruby-amber color and flavors of sour cherry and strawberry, as well as notes of apples and apricots.
Pair this with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for a taste of Italy!
Average price of Vigneto Saetti ‘II Cadetto’ Rosato dell’Emilia IGT 2016: $21
6. Paltrinieri ‘Grosso’ Lambrusco di Modena 2015
This Lambrusco is a rare, sparkling red from the Cantina Paltrinieri winery located in the Modena area of Romagna.
It has a rich berry flavor that is complemented by a lively acidity. Pair this bottle with cured meat and beautifully roasted vegetables.
Average price of Paltrinieri ‘Grosso’ Lambrusco di Modena 2015: $22
7. Podere Magia Lambrusco dell’Emilia 2016
Here’s another dry wine to try out for a taste of Italy! This is a well-balanced, juicy, and rich red wine with a magical deep purple color.
The flavor will transport you to the vineyards of Italy - it has hints of black cherry, plum, strawberry, and cream - paired with a good Italian spaghetti bolognese!
Average price of Podere Magia Lambrusco dell’Emilia 2016: $21
8. Vigneto Saetti ‘RossoViola’ Lambrusco 2019
This wine hails from the Azienda Agricola Luciano Saetti winery and has the added benefit of being an organic wine. It’s a great wine for Autumn, so it would make an excellent Thanksgiving option!
This jammy, juicy wine has low tannin count and lively acidity. Pair with some traditional dishes from the Romagna region.
Average price of Vigneto Saetti ‘RossoViola’ Lambrusco 2019: $20
Time to add this delicious red sparkling wine to your collection?
You may get a Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro or a Medici Ermete in your local wine shop or in an online wine portal. But, you’ll have to find the best bottles at the best prices yourself.
Also, when you buy the rarer and more expensive investment wines, you’ll have to be extra careful that you don’t accidentally buy a counterfeit bottle!
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