Rediscover Real Lambrusco! It’s About Time!

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Lambrusco Rosso Frizzante Secco (min. 10.5% alc.)

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

Lambrusco is not only the collective name for several indigenous red grape varieties, such as Sorbara, Grasparossa, Salamino, Marani, Maestri, Montericco, Grappello Ruberti, Viadanese, and Barghi – to mention the 9 most common Lambrusco varieties grown in Emilia (Emilia-Romagna), Mantova, and Cremona (Lombardy), it’s also a red VINO FRIZZANTE (“fizzy wine”), a type of wine that has less bottle pressure (1-2.5 ATM) than a fully sparkling wine (3.0+ ATM), such as Champagne (France) or an Italian Spumante.

True Lambrusco [red, frizzante, secco (0 to max. 15g/l sugar: 0-4g/l= bone-dry, 5-8g/l= dry 9-11g/l= off-dry, 12-15g/l= sweet), min. 10.5% alc.] may come from one of the 8 Lambrusco DOPs or 4 Lambrusco 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 a regular red/white wine glass. Afterall, Lambrusco Secco is a REAL red wine…. with a little fizz.

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 very much on the reputation of a producer and the individual brand/label. It has nothing to do with a particular Lambrusco variety or Lambrusco DOC. [Note: Industrial and commercial Lambrusco (4-12% alc. +semisecco/amabile/dolce (20-90g/l sugar)] – unfortunately – continues to be a DOC Lambrusco.)

There’s great Lambrusco Salamino and very bad Lambrusco Sorbara and most big producers only produce one or two truly authentic (red, frizzante, secco, twice fermented, min. 10.5% alc.) Lambruscos.

Lambrusco’s color may be salmon-pink (100% Sorbara), red-purple (100% Grasparossa), deep dark purple (100% Salamino), or inky purple (100% Maestri), or any other shade in-between — but NEVER EVER white (bianco).

The classic flavor of true – minimum 10.5% alcohol – Lambrusco is a mix of blue-, boysen-, cran-, black-, rasp-, strawberries, currents, cherries, plums, and violets (sorbara).

On the other hand ALL commercial and industrial Lambrusco versions [4%-12% alc. + semisecco/amabile/dolce (20-90g/l sugar)], originally invented for the United States, are just “very sweet, even sweeter and extremely 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% [2% to 4.5%] alcohol lower than traditional local Lambrusco [min. 10.5% alc]; 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 10.5% alcohol and secco.

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

Here’s to genuine Lambrusco Rosso Frizzante Secco, min. 10.5% alc.! Cheers!

World Lambrusco Day & International Lambrusco Week

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