The famous Italian wine Lambrusco is known for its sweetness, fizziness, low alcohol and not to forget a less price. However, that’s not it. These are only a few of the misconceptions that folks are still stuck with today. It is an underrated Italian wine which is a perfect companion with your food and good Thanksgiving gift too!
There’s a lot more to this wine including the varieties in which it is available. Well, yeah right we mentioned ‘varieties’ and that ranges from color to sweetness to price.
A Lambrusco is all you need to clean that plate full of rich fatty food like pizza, barbecue, cured meats, and pork-based sausages. Its frothiness and fruit flavor balance with the entire richness of the food.
The Story Behind The Lambrusco Wine
One of the oldest wines, this one carries with it a long story. The history of wine-making dates back to the Egyptian and Roman Era. Historians found seeds of some grapes as evidence that the art of winemaking was popular in the Bronze Age.
Lambrusco is the name of the grapes used to make this wine. The name comes from the Latin words ‘labrum’ means edge and ‘ruscum’ means spontaneous plant. So the Romans named this grape wine for its wild growth all over the place. The oldest wine made by the Romans was from a wild vine. They produced by a process of re-fermentation in amphora.
The wine was a hit in Modena (Emilia Romagna) so the production increased and so did its export to France. These wines have also acquired the status of protected origin, which leads Italy to be the largest and dominant producer of the wine.
In the 70s and 80s, the wine became popular in the United States because of the brand Riunite. In fact, in that period Americas’ top three wines (imported) were all Lambruscos. The grapes grown in the Emilia village has the capacity to make 60 varieties of wines. Its flavor, taste, and color depending on the type of grapes and the production process.
Riunite Lambrusco Wines
Riunite is an Italian brand of wine originated in 1950 in the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. It is an international distributor of varieties of wine. These wines have low alcohol content i.e. 9% ABV and a sweet pleasant taste. In the 1970s American’s developed a taste for Riunite’s Lambrusco Emilia Red wine, since then the brand became popular, although later it was devastated.
The fizzy wine comes housed in a 1.5 L bottle that costs around $8 which is quite affordable. Moreover, this refreshing wine is perfect to pair with almost all kinds of food, from Italian to Asian to Mexican.
Reunite produces varieties of Lambrusco wines classifies under three major heads – Lambrusco premium, Lambrusco DOC Reggiano and Lambrusco Emilia IGT
Apart from these wines, many other wineries produce Lambrusco wine which is acidic, less sweet, white or rose-red in color and with many more such variations. A lot of varieties are available in the market with varying price ranges.
Varieties of Lambrusco wines
There are in total 10 varieties that includes 4 high-quality grapes that produce classic wines –
Lambrusco di Sorbara
This variety produces wines that are extremely refreshing and delicate. They have a fruity aroma and orange flavors and leave a dry finish. These kinds of wines are great to pair with spicy food such as that of Indian cuisine. It is rose-pink in color and has an enticing scent of violets. This wine has a boasting acidity and delectable red berry flavors. Some good brands for this variety are – Paltrinieri 2016 Radice, Cavicchioli 2016 Vigna del Cristo and Cleto Chiarli 2016 Vecchia Modena Premium.
Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
The wine made from these grapes comes in a bottle labeled as Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro. It has a bold taste of blackcurrants and blueberries with a dry finish. Also, It is sparkling wine and has a perfect balance between flavors. These wines have a dark hue and high tannic structure. Bottles of this wine are dark, dry and frothy. Some good wines from this variety are – Fattoria Moretto NV Monovitigno, Villa di Corlo NV Corleto, and Zanasi NV Tradizione.
These grapes make wines which are a combination of aroma of Lambrusco di Sorbara with texture and finish of Lambrusco Grasparossa. The wines have Labels such as Reggiano Lambrusco Salamino on it. A good match with a burger this one’s creamy and sweet.
Moreover, the salamino grapes are grown in large quantities because of its rich color properties. The grapes are an active ingredient to make dry wines. Some wines made from salamino are – Medici Ermete 2016 Lambrusco Concerto, Paltrinieri solco Frizzante Semisecco and Cantina di Sorbara NV Dedicato ad Alfredo Molinari.
It is a red grape Emilia Romagna which makes sparkly fresh lively wines. This one’s more on a creamy side and has a heightened flavor of grapes. It has those small bubbles and feels very soft on the tongue leaving notes of milk chocolate on the taste buds.
The color in the skin of the grapes and the tannic presence brings out amazing texture in the wine. Of all the other wines this one has gone through various developments by many other wineries outside Italy too. Also, it is a good compliment of cheese and sausages. Some good brands for this wine are – Ceci Otello Nero di Lambrusco, Ceci Otellon’Ice Demi sec and Ariola Marcello Lambrusco Gran Cru Dry.
The other six varieties are – Colli di Parma Lambrusco, Reggiano Lambrusco, Lambrusco Montericco, Lambrusco Marani, Modena Lambrusco and Lambrusco Mantovano.
Alcohol Content and Nutrition
These wines have a low alcoholic content and are awesome to pair up with any kind of food. Its sweet taste and fruity flavors balance the food very well. They have 11% ABV on average and contains 66 calories in 100 ml i.e. 3 oz. Although sugar is not added to it, the grapes develop their sweetness which contributes to 4g of sugar in a glass of wine.
Some more wines to try
So now when we are familiar with the past of this wine let’s hop on to the present. In today’s date, these wines are made fizzy, dry, and with very little sweetness. Till now we are certain that you might consider it adding to the list the next time you go shopping. So, here we are suggesting top five Lambrusco wines that will make your job easier –
- Cantina Della Volta Lambrusco Di Modena Spumante Rosso
This one’s a little high in price but amazing in taste too. With a little bitter in the finish, this wine balances on flavors very swiftly. Fruit and acid compliment each other perfectly. The wines origin dates back to 2010 in Emilia-Romagna and a bottle of 750 ml costs around $28 on an average.
- Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Radice Paltrinieri
This wine is a product of Paltrinieri winery and has roots in the Sorbara region. It has 11.5% ABV which is quite low. The wine has a very sophisticated taste and good fizziness with a dry finish. It is a good companion for Italian food. One bottle contains 750 ml which can cost $19-$20.
- Ariola Marcello Gran Cru
A former gold holder in London’s International wine challenge, this one’s a true gem. Made in 2015 in Parma this wine has 11% ABV and an amazing fruity taste. It is a red wine with heightened flavors of berries and cherries. A 750 ml bottle of this wine costs around $19-$20.
- Ferrando Quarticello Lambrusco Emilia
With 11.5% ABV this wine comes from Montecchio Emilia manufactured by Roberto Maestri’s vineyards. With salamino grapes as its major ingredient which gives it a flavor of blackcurrants, wild yeasts is another unique component in its making. One bottle costs around $22 that houses 750 ml of wine.
- Camillo Donati Lambrusco Rosso –
With a relatively high alcohol content of 13.5% ABV it has a bit high price too. One bottle of 750 ml can cost around $23. This is an unfiltered wine of high quality. It has deep flavors of berries and is best when served chilled.
Well with such a popular reputation Lambrusco never fails to be on the list of every wine lover. Because of its fizziness, candied sweetness and price, of course, this wine offers a lot. It can be paired with any food on the planet and goes amazingly well along with it. Moreover, it is a good aperitif too.
With the advent of time wine producers now make semi-sparkly and barely sweet Lambrusco wine. However, folks still drool over it when it comes to pairing with food for a perfect dinner!