Re:Think Lambrusco

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Lambrusco Rosso Frizzante Secco (min. 11% alc.)

Eyewitness Companions: Wines of the World: Your Essential Handbook,
DK Publishing | 2004 | Penguin Publisher

Lambrusco is not only the collective name of several indigenous red grape varieties, such as Sorbara, Grasparossa, Salamino, Marani, Maestri, Montericco, Groppello Ruberti, Viadanese, and Barghi – to mention the 9 most common Lambrusco varieties grown in Emilia (Emilia-Romagna) and Mantova (Lombardy), it’s also a red VINO FRIZZANTE (“fizzy wine”), a type of wine that has less bottle pressure than a fully sparkling wine, such as Champagne (France) or an Italian Spumante.

True Lambrusco (red, frizzante, min. 11% alc.) comes from either 8 DOPs or 4 IGPs. 

Other classic Vino Frizzantes from the Lands of Fizz (the provinces of Emilia and Mantova) are Gutturnio Frizzante (red), Barbera Frizzante (red), Bonarda Frizzante (red), Ortrugo Frizzante (white), Pignoletto Frizzante (white), and Malvasia Frizzante (white).

All ‘Vino Frizzante’ wines should be served in regular red/white wine glasses.

Though one commonly refers to Emilia and Mantova as the “Lambrusco Region”, Lambrusco is NOT the name of a town, wine zone or region.

The quality of a Lambrusco label depends on the reputation of the producer and the individual brand. It has nothing to do with a particular Lambrusco variety or DOC. There’s great Salamino and very bad Sorbara and most big producers only produce one or two truly authentic (red, frizzante, secco, double fermented, min. 11% alc.) Lambruscos.

Lambrusco’s color may be salmon-pink (100% Sorbara), red-purple (Grasparossa), dark purple (Salamino), or inky purple (Maestri), or any other shade inbetween — but never white.

The classic flavor of true – minimum 11 percent alcohol – Lambrusco is a mix of blue-, boysen-, black-, rasp-, strawberries, cherries, plums, and violets. On the other hand ALL industrial Lambrusco versions (4%-9.5% alc.), originally invented for the United States, are either “very sweet, sweet, or kind of sweet.”

Riunite: “s’inventarono un Lambrusco per gli yankee, frizzante quasi come una coca cola e due gradi sotto la produzione locale, per il gusto Usa fu perfetto.”
(Translation: Banfi, importer of  Riunite, invented a Lambrusco for Americans that’s more like a soft drink (cola) and 2.5% of alcohol lower than traditional local Lambrusco; a perfect version for US consumers’ taste preferences [in 1967].) (Note: Sweet, cheap industrial Lambrusco was actually first introduced to US consumers by Giacobazzi in 1965.)

Authentic Lambrusco is neither ‘pop wine’, ‘red wine cola’ or ‘fruit juice with alcohol’, nor less than 11% alcohol. 

This is an exciting time for true #RealLambrusco lovers; there’s always something new to discover in the vineyards in and around Bologna, Mantova, Modena, Parma, and Reggio Emilia!

Related Sites/Topics/Links

>>> World Lambruso Day & International Lambrusco Week