If you can’t make it to Italy right now, then let Italy come to you! One of the best ways to experience that is through the finest Italian wines. And that includes the cherished Lambrusco. If you aren’t that acquainted with it, here’s your chance to know what a Lambrusco wine is!
Get To Know The Lambrusco
Italy might seem like heaven for wine aficionados! One of the wines on the list that best embodies the Italian essence is a sparkling wine called Lambrusco.
Lambrusco wines are made from grape varieties of the same name. The Northern part of Italy is the haven of this grape varietal. Long before other grapes were made into wine, the Romans were already consuming something similar to the Lambrusco we know today.
Given its long and rich history of wines, it’s no wonder Italy has become the biggest wine-producing country in the world.
If you are drinking Lambrusco wine from Italy, it most likely came from around the Emilia-Romagna region. Since wine production in Italy is a serious business, producers must adhere to rules and regulations, committing to producing wines of the highest quality.
There are hundreds and hundreds of Lambrusco varieties out there. However, expect superior varieties from these zones:
- Lambrusco Grasparossa
- Lambrusco Reggiano
- Lambrusco di Sorbara
- Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
Apart from these four zones, the Lambrusco Mantovano variety is the only one grown in the Lombardy region. Also, don’t be surprised if you find Lambrusco wines made in either Australia or Argentina.
The interesting thing about this wine is that it’s not only made from one Lambrusco variety. It’s blended with other grapes from the same family.
Lambrusco: Sweet Or Dry?
If you have not tried Lambrusco before, you might wonder about its taste. Well, here’s where things get interesting.
There was a period, around the 1970s, when the world thought Lambrusco was this overly sweet Italian wine. That affected the reputation of the Lambrusco wine. However, it managed to redeem itself and regain its rightful place as one of the best Italian wine offerings.
Lambrusco wines can be either in the dry or sweet category. You can check the wine label to confirm which kind you are getting. If you need more knowledge about this whole thing, here’s a guide on how Lambrusco wines are categorized:
● Bone Dry To Semi-Fruity
● Deep Color
● Earthy and fruity flavors
● Off Dry
● Most Lambruscos fall under this category
● Medium Sweet
Whatever your preference is, there’s a Lambrusco wine for you. Some Lambrusco wines are savory, elegant, and dry, while some are sweet and fruity. Some have deep colors, showcasing the richness of the grapes they are derived from. When sipping a Lambrusco, hints of the following notes will awaken your senses:
- Flowers (like roses and violets)
In terms of alcohol content, Lambrusco wines fall within the 8% to 13 % range, with an average of about 10.5%. Since most of these wines have low ABV, you can drink as much without getting drunk easily.
Lambrusco Production Methods
Each winemaker has tricks up their sleeves to produce the best possible wines. And in the case of Lambrusco wine, which is usually labelled as a frizzante in Italy, producers use three methods.
The method used depends on what kind of Lambrusco wine they are producing. If you are familiar with how other sparkling wines are produced, you might see some similarities in the vinification process of the Lambrusco wine.
The first method that we need to talk about is the Metodo Ancestrale. This is perhaps one of the classic ways of making sparkling ones. And if you are looking at high-quality Lambrusco, it’s mostly likely made through the Ancestral Method.
As with most wines, the Lambrusco wine goes through fermentation. With other wines, the producers will wait for the whole fermentation to finish up.
However, with the Lambrusco made with the Ancestral Method, the wine is transferred to bottles before they are fully fermented. The fermentation process will continue in the bottles. Carbon Dioxide is produced and trapped inside the bottles, adding to the sparkling factor.
One of the easiest ways to identify a Metodo Ancestrale-made Lambrusco is through its cap. If you see a Lambrusco wine with a cork and muselet, similar to that of a Champagne bottle, then that’s most likely produced through this method.
This is another traditional way of making Lambrusco wine. If a Lambrusco wine goes through this process, you know you are getting the best of the best.
There are several steps involved in this kind of production process. It starts with putting together the dry base wines. Once these base wines are combined, they will be bottled, and yeast and sugar are added.
It will start another fermentation process. During this part, more alcohol will be produced. Carbon Dioxide will also be released, creating that carbonated fizz in the Lambrusco wine.
As the fermentation continues, the yeast particles called lees will appear. The bottles are usually flipped upside down so all the lees gather at the neck area. These sediments are removed, and the bottles are sealed again.
Charmat Method (also known as Tank Method)
This is the third and last way of making Lambrusco wines. It starts with tirage, a process where wine, yeast, and sugar are mixed together in a large tank. While the mixture is in the tank, the second fermentation happens.
Carbonation also occurs during this process. Once the desired pressure from the Carbon Dioxide inside the tank is reached, it undergoes filtering, adding dosage, and bottling. Producers usually don’t usually wait for the wine to age.
Best Lambrusco Pairings You Should Try
There’s nothing quite like drinking the best Lambrusco wine. Before taking a sip, know that Lambrusco does need to be aged so you can enjoy it fully and beautifully.
As with most wines, try keeping the Lambrusco wine away from heat. The heat might affect the components of the wine and alter its flavor. You can pop your Lambrusco in the fridge for about an hour before serving. The perfect temperature would be around 12 degrees Celsius. Use your white wine glass when serving Lambrusco.
You can definitely drink Lambrusco wine on its own. But if you pair it with something delectable, it would totally be a different ballgame! So, what are the best things to pair Lambrusco wine with?
You don’t have to look far for this question to be answered! Pair it with something from the same region as Lambrusco, like the Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma. Set a gorgeous and scrumptious charcuterie board and enjoy it with a cold glass of Lambrusco wine.
Eating a lot of meat-centered dishes, especially barbecued ones like chicken, pork, and lamb, can get overwhelming. Cut through the intensity and heaviness of these dishes by pairing it with a dry variety of Lambrusco.
And since we are on the subject of Italian food, you can’t miss eating pasta and pizza. Lambrusco wine goes well with anything made of rich and heavy sauces.
If you think that Lambrusco wine only works with Italian dishes, that’s where you are wrong. If you have a penchant for hot and spicy Asian food, pop a bottle of Lambrusco wine and enjoy the meal.
You should also not miss out on indulging in desserts. The sweet variety of the Lambrusco wine would be a glorious match for cake or fruit!
Shop And Drink Lambrusco Edition
If you aren’t a big fan of wines with high Tannin levels, you would be pleased with the Lambrusco wine. There are Lambrusco wines with low Tannin content. And if you are on the lookout for some of the premier ones, check this out:
2015 Fattoria Moretto Monovitigno Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
● Medium Acidity, Tannin, and Body
● Goes well with savory dishes
● Hints of black berries and cherries
2016 Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco Reggiano
Emilia Romagna, Italy
● Ruby Red to Dark Purple color
● Rich berry aroma
● Moderate Acidity
$11.00 - $15.00
2018 Vittorio Graziano Fontana dei Boschi Lambrusco Emilia IGT
Emilia Romagna, Italy
● Sparkling, rustic that’s not too dry or too sweet
● Medium Acid and Tannin levels
● Hints of dark fruits with floral notes
$14.00 - $30.00
2016 Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena
● Silky and smooth
● Light and sparkling
● Prominent berry scents
● Dry finish
$16.00 - $24.00
These are just some of the highly-rated Lambrusco wines that you can purchase in the market today. Of course, there are plenty more Lambrusco wines that you need to explore!
Newfound Love For Lambrusco Wine
Lambrusco is one of the quintessential Italian wines that you should try.
And with your newfound understanding of what a Lambrusco wine is, you will be able to appreciate and admire it when you finally come across it. It’s a guarantee that you will have a spectacular drinking experience.