What is Lambrusco Wine? Essentially, Lambrusco is both a kind of Wine as well as a set of grape varieties that is mainly used for the production of sparkling red Wine. It is grown in the Emilia-Romagna part of Italy, mainly in Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma. Lambrusco is primarily produced in Italy’s Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont parts.
This grape variety is well-known for its vibrant and fruity flavors. It also has notes of blackberry, cherry, and plum. There is also refreshing acidity and a slight effervescence, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a lively and sparkling wine.
What is a good Lambrusco wine? For this, we need to understand a bit about the beverage’s origins. Lambrusco’s origin lies in the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy, northeast of Tuscany. Bologna is the capital, and the region, in general, is well-known for its rich gastronomic history. The Classics of Italian cuisine, be it the balsamic vinegar of Modena, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and mortadella, originate there. Hence, it only makes sense that Lambrusco is a famous food-friendly wine. This is mainly because it can go well with rich and light dishes. It goes well with spicy foods and aromatic ones, as well. To be more precise, a slightly off-dry Lambrusco, along with coconut curry, is perfect.
Generally, Bottles labeled as Lambrusco Reggiano DOC are produced from grapes grown all across the region; Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC has been crafted from the same name and is made with up to 40% Salamino grapes. The Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC variety is based on Lambrusco Grasparossa and is known to be richer and dryer than the other expressions. Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce DOC is another variety that is less common on the American market. However, if you find a bottle, it is worth looking at. Likewise, from the Lombardy region, there’s Lambrusco Mantovano DOC. One can also find Lambrusco labeled as Emilia IGP.
Characteristics of Lambrusco
What is Lambrusco? To start with, some great features are characteristic of the Lambrusco. The sweeter version, Lambrusco, highlights the watermelon, ripe cherry, wild strawberry, and raspberry notes. There are also occasional hints of cranberry. Likewise, the Flowers can also often be detected, but some savory notes of minerals and mushrooms are found in the dryer versions. Did you know that some recommended bottles below even have letters of roasted beets?
Overall, Lambrusco’s main flavor greatly depends on the kind of grapes used in the blend, the region that they have been harvested, and the man in which the Wine has been manufactured. In the Charmat method, the Lambrusco acquires its bubbles from a secondary fermentation that takes place in a vast pressurized stainless steel tank. In this case, these bottlings focus on the fruit used compared to the savory aspects. In the Ancestral method, Lambrusco acquires its bubbles in the same manner as pet nat. This means that the Wine is bottled before the initial fermentation is finished. As the yeast converts the remaining sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide in a sealed bottle, the CO2 dissolves into the liquid, making it gently fizzy.
Likewise, some earthy and savory notes are quite commonly found in these. Also, certain Lambrusco are manufactured in the Champagne method, whereby a second fermentation originates within the bottle after a completed initial fermentation. However, no matter what type you are enjoying, chilling the bottle, even the most deeply red ones, is a recommended idea.
Irrespective of the style, the Lambrusco on the American market today is much more diverse than before and is worth exploring by wine lovers.
The Different Types of Lambrusco
What wine is similar to Lambrusco? To understand better, you need to take a look at the various varieties of the Lambrusco:
Lambrusco di Sorbara: This variety consists of a floral-forward and concentrated flavor. It comprises the lightest color of the Lambrusco grapes.
Lambrusco di Salamino: This variety has a deeper ruby color and a purple fizz. It is still fruity and is also greatly fragrant. This is also available in both semi-sweet and dry varieties.
Lambrusco di Grasparossa: This is fuller-bodied and higher in alcohol content. This is also the most tannic or high in the chemical compounds found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes and is quite a robust Lambrusco variety.
How Lambrusco is Made?
What is Lambrusco red wine? The Lambrusco wines are generally manufactured by using the following three techniques:
1. Martinotti or Charmat Method
This method is used to acquire sparkling Lambrusco and ‘spumante.’ The technique consists of pouring the Wine into a large pressurized autoclave infusing them with yeasts and sugar after subsequent fermentation. This results in carbon dioxide formation caught in the Wine due to the pressure created in the autoclaves. After that, the Wine is bottled, and a special cork is used to preserve its bubbles.
2. The Classic Method or Champanois
This method is used only for producing Lambrusco ‘spumante.’ This technique requires the second fermentation to begin straight in the container after the yeasts and sugars are added to the container. The new fermentation leads to the formation of more carbon dioxide, and the gas trapped prompts a further pressure increment.
3. Blowing Carbon Dioxide
This method is applied to produce ‘Artificial’ sparkling wines. It consists of blowing carbon dioxide into compressed autoclaves loaded with Wine so that the carbon gets infused into it. Despite the quicker method, it’s not preferred when you need an ideal result.
Taste Profile and Characteristics
Now, let us take a look at the taste and the profile of the Lambrusco. First, unlike the champagne, Lambrusco is not so full of bubbles that you cannot gulp it down. It is, in fact, frizzante and slightly sparkling; hence, it will not make your throat burn.
As for the Taste, it is Light and refreshing with aromas of red berries and violets. Flavors of fresh strawberries, red cherries, and a satisfying bitter almond twist on the finish follow this. As for the Age, it is recommended to drink as soon as possible after release. Other aspects include that these wines are frizzante and slightly fizzy.
Although quite bubbly, Lambrusco wines generally fall on the fizzy and frothy side of the sparkling wine spectrum and are manufactured in styles ranging from bone-dry to very sweet. Irrespective of the sweetness level, Lambrusco generally displays flavors of cherries, strawberries, blackberry jam, violets, citrus zest, and potting soil.
Popularity and Misconceptions
Quite a few aspects and factors need clarification about this beverage. To start with, the Lambrusco wine has not always been so popular. Previously, it was involved in a controversy and acquired various negative feedbacks. At the time of the wine boom in the 1970s, it was not considered a genuine Lambrusco but just a sweet sparkling juice. The quality had grown extremely poor as the amounts traded were huge, with the main objective of earning a profit.
Most wines that are considered popular today have had a bad reputation during the wine boom of the 1970s and 1980s. At this time, the Chablis was going through the misuse of its name as Italy went through the same in the case of wines like Soave, Chianti, and Lambrusco as they grew available everywhere.
Lambrusco considered Italy’s shining red Wine, gradually encountered a quality insurgency. Certain brands and a few makers brought down the quality, hence manufacturing cheap and slumping versions of the Wine to create drier types of Lambrusco. This is what eventually altered the final perception of the beverage.
Lambrusco Wine Regions
So, where does the ‘good’ Lambruco come from? To understand this, you need to know that Lambrusco is the name given to an Italian red wine grape variety and a wine made from the said grape. Both the grapes and the Wine are grown in four zones in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy — mainly around the focal areas of Modena, Parma, Reggio-Emilia, and Mantua in Italy. This grape has a long winemaking history, with archaeological proof stating that the Etruscan civilization cultivated this grape variety. During the Roman times, Lambrusco was profoundly well-known for its productivity and high yields.
The Contemporary Appeal of Lambrusco
Some producers are also returning Lambrusco to its traditional roots by using the so-called Ancestral method. This method includes where the yeasts are left within the bottle to create fizz and leave sediment. This method involves no dégorgement or remuage. “This was how Lambrusco was originally made. It is nothing more than returning to its roots,” says Sandro Cavicchioli, a winemaker of the eponymous Cavicchioli brand. This belonged to his family until GIV purchased it in 2011. He likes the cloudy ‘authentic’ look and fresh, yeasty flavors that originate from leaving the yeast in the bottle. “You can say it is more than natural winemaking, taking into consideration that all our vineyards have been converted to organic farming,” Cavicchioli says.
The other stylistic novelty is the increased use of the classic sparkling method, in which bottles are turned, and the sediment is eliminated just before they are corked. This technique of second fermentation is utilized to make white and rosé Lambrusco. This competes with Prosecco and other Italian sparklers. Less vigorous pressing of the grapes helps keep the fruit fresher and brighter. Lastly, the Skin contact is carefully monitored to acquire the right amount of color and tannin in the Wine.
Buying and Storing Lambrusco
Once opened, the Lambrusco needs to be put in the refrigerator. Likewise, the other option is using a professional wine preserver if you do not mind paying. This will ensure that the Wine is fresh for even longer. There are also many gadgets and devices available. The Two main wine preservation systems appear to be the most popular and effective.
Also, the Wine has several enemies, the light and heat among the worst. Also, exposure to Oxygen is the greatest threat it faces, as the Oxygen turns Wine into vinegar.
Hence, when considering how to preserve Wine, the main aspect is to ensure that your Wine is protected from exposure to the air as much as possible. The prime factor is to close the bottle after every pour.
What is Lambrusco Wine?: Conclusion
Mainly, the production of Lambrusco occurs in Emilia-Romagna, which is a region in Italy that is also home to many famous delicacies. You might know that Balsamic vinegar from Modena, Prosciutto, and Parmesan-Reggiano cheese are all specialties of Emilia-Romagna. It also happens that a dry or off-dry Lambrusco wine with firm acidity is the perfect way to tally these locally-made treasures. For a match good enough for locals, you must serve a Lambrusco with your next charcuterie and cheese spread. Also, make sure to include Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano for perfect authenticity.
What is Lambrusco Wine?: FAQ's
Question 1. What is the history of Lambrusco wine?
Answer: The grapes and the Wine originate from four zones in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy―principally around the central provinces of Modena, Parma, Reggio-Emilia, and Mantua.
Question 2. What grape varieties are used in Lambrusco production?
Answer: Four Lambrusco grapes can be used: Maestri, Marani, Montericco, and Salamino.
Question 3. How is Lambrusco wine different from other sparkling wines?
Answer: Lambrusco wine is different as it is less effervescent and much lower in alcohol content.
Question 4. Is Lambrusco always sweet, or are there dry versions?
Answer: No, there are dry versions as well; Lambrusco is available in dry-secco, semi-sweet-si-secco, and sweet-dulce varieties.
Question 5. What are some famous Lambrusco-producing regions in Italy?
Answer: Some of the main regions are Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy
Question 6. Can I age Lambrusco wine, or is it best consumed young?
Answer: Yes, it is best consumed young.
Question 7. Are there any notable producers or brands of Lambrusco wine?
Answer: Cleto Chiarli, Medici Ermete, Terrevive.
Question 8. How should Lambrusco be served, and at what temperature?
Answer: Lambrusco should be served between 8-12°C or 46-55°F.
Question 9. What is the best way to store Lambrusco wine?
Answer: Light reds such as Pinot Noir, Lambrusco, and Gamay can last for about 2–3 days when corked and stored in some cool and dark place.
Question 10. Are there any health benefits associated with drinking Lambrusco in Moderation?
Answer: Yes, Lambrusco has an excellent antioxidant. This helps to block the growth of cells that lead to cancer.