Lambrusco, the main family of red grapes from the Emilia side of Emilia-Romagna, is gaining in trend and popularity. Even five years ago, no one had even heard of Lambrusco, let alone be drinking it!
Now, the family is gaining a lot of noteriety, and more people are asking for lambrusco wine when they shop! The question is: what lambrusco are you looking for? To say just lambrusco, is technically wrong. There are 17 different grapes with the name lambrusco, and when we talk about the lambrusco family, there are five main ones we talk about, and/or are available in many markets. From lightest to darkest:
Lambruso di Sorbara⇒Lambrusco Marani⇒Lambrusco Salomino⇒Lambrusco Grasparossa⇒Lambrusco Maestri
Being a family of grapes means they are all related. There is nowhere else in Italy where these grapes are grown other than in Emilia, so these grapes are truly autochothonous! They are traditionally made with the Martinotti method (tank) to obtain the bubbles, but more and more producers are making traditional method and even Metodo Ancestrale to make lambrusco.
Perhaps the most famous lambrusco to be seen in market is the Lambruso di Sorbara – the lightest of all the lambrusco, it delivers a pink, sometimes pale pink wine that has mouth scrubbing acidity and crunchy red fruit flavours like cranberry and red currant. This particular di Sorbara from Medici Ermete
was made in the Metodo Ancestrale Style – dry and full spumante, there’s also hints of vanilla and brioche to make this a full flavoured wine! Pair this with Gnocco Fritto – not gnocchi, the potato pasta, but rather “pillows of goodness” in the form of fried bread that is served warm, and then topped with prosciutto. The fat on the prosciutto melts, fold it in half then pop it in your mouth! You will NOT regret having Gnocco Fritto! Yum!
Lambrusco Salamino is named such because the bunches are shaped like salumi, a favourite meat of Italy. It is always planted in the same vineyards as di Sorbara because the di Sorbara vines are hermaphroditic; meaning they have both male and female flowers (but functions as a female) so they need another pollinating source in order to ripen. That’s Salamino’s job, so it’s quite a great match! Salamino strikes the balance between the elegance of di Sorbara and the power and tannic nature of the Grasparossa.
Lambrusco Marani is very rare and not seen in many markets. In fact, plantings are decreasing in favour of Lambrusco Maestri. The wines are very floral in nature, also with extremely high acidity. The colour is darker than di Sorbara, but lighter than Salamino.
Lambrusco Maestri is deep purple, frothy and tannic and gives the fruitiest, creamiest, and most complex wines with unique aromas and flavours of milk chocolate and bubblegum! I’ve tasted only a couple of these and it’s indeed the profile! I’m working hard on getting some importers to bring some Maestri into the Western Canadian market because I think they would be really popular! They are extremely quaffable, and I am 100% convinced the public would love this particular lambrusco!
Last, but certainly not least, is Lambrusco Grasparossa – considered to be the highest quality by many in Italy, the inky purple, frothy, tannic, creamy dry lambrusco has tons of black cherry, blackberry and lots of violet aromas and flavours. The great match here? Tagliatelle of course! The long pasta with a bolognese sauce full of pork meat is perfect for this dry tannic wine!
The Tenuta Pederzana Grasparossa organic lambrusco called Cantolibero is from the Castelvetro DOC and is made without the use of any sulphites making it a wine that many would approve of. Dark fruits, aromatic herbs and fleshy tannins make this a perfect match for that rich tomato and meat sauce of a tagliatelle and bolognese!
Interested in knowing more about the Lambrusco family? Check out my collegues of #ItalianFWT and learn more!
**(Please note: All photos of food and wine was from my trip to Emilia-Romagna – aka “Lambrusco Land” 🙂 in April, 2018)
- Camilla from the Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be featuring “Every Wine Deserves a Second Look: Warmed Brie with Mulberry Chutney + Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena 2018”
- Jill at L’Occasion shares “La Collina Biodynamic Bubbles — Lambrusco!
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm highlights “Lambrusco? Really??”
- Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen will showcase “Top 5 Fast Food Pairings with Lambrusco”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click will share “Lambrusco Shines with Red Fizz and Fun”
- Cindy of Grape Experiences will feature “Italian Old-School Classics: Easy Drinking Lambrusco with Spicy Vegetarian Pensa Romana”
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass will be sharing “Drinking Lambrusco in Strawberry Season”
- Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings is focused on “Picnicking with Scarpetta Frico Lambrusco”
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish will be sharing “Revisiting Lambrusco with Francesco Vezzelli Rive dei Ciliegi”
- Nicole with Somm’s Table shares “Cooking to the Wine: Pezzuoli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro with Antipasto Pizza”
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator will be showcasing “Bugno Martino’s Organic Lambrusco Defy Expectations”
- Susannah of Avvinare will be featuring “Sparkling Lambrusco from Vitivinicola Rota”
- Host Jennifer of Vino Travels shares “Over 150 years of Dedication to Lambrusco with Cleto Chiarli”
Salute! And may all your lambrusco(s) be enjoyable!