Lambrusco – Perfect for the Holidays -#ItalianFWT

emilia romagna

The theme this month’s Italian Food, Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group of food and wine writers is Italian Sparkling Wines.  I love sparkling wine and could drink it at every meal and throughout the meal. Today I am writing out one of my favorite sparkling wines although it is really frizzante usually rather than sparkling, Lambrusco as part of the group.

Martin D. Redmond, this month’s host wrote this invitation post on the topic for a quick overview of Italian Sparkling wines and this preview post as well.

I choose to write about Lambrusco because it has so much to offer and is still so often overlooked. It’s delicious, tends to have lower alcohol, pairs well with many foods and is  fun to have at your table. I always find it cleanses my palate and cuts through fatty foods. Whether serving roast beef or Lasagna or goose for your Christmas feast, Lambrusco can fit in nicely. I like to use the  photo above that I took of the pavilion at Vinitaly for Emilia Romagna because it say it is “un mondo fantastico.” This is the way I feel about Emilia, a region I love and lived in when I went to graduate school in Bologna. While it seems to be one of the lesser known regions of Italy, Emilia Romagna has everything: valleys, hills, coastline, the plains and the Apennine Mountain range. It also is home to wonderful art cities and thermal spas, as well as great food and wine. Among it’s most famous wines and grape varieties are the host of Lambrusco varieties. Lambrusco was of course our drink of choice during graduate school.

Which Lambrusco to drink however can be a question. There are many and I’ve written numerous posts on the different Lambruscos. the most famous and considered the most prestigious is Sorbara.


Emotions run deep in Lambrusco land apparently and I’ve had many a discussion about Lambrusco with people in person and online. Sorbara is one of the oldest of the Lambrusco varieties and grows well in loose soils of sand and alluvial fans. When grown on clay soils it tends to lose it’s aromas yet be higher in color. Lambrusco di Sorbara was given the DOC classification in 1970.  It comes from the area around Bomporto, near Modena.  To be a Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC wine, you need at least 60% of the wine to come from Lambrusco di Sorbara. The one in the picture from Francesco Vezzelli is lovely, relatively inexpensive at around $17 and is available in the USA. Check out wine-searcher here.


Then comes Lambrusco Grasparossa del Castelvetro which hails from the areas around Modena and Reggio Emilia in the province of Emilia Romagna like almost all of the other Lambruscos.  It is considered to be a tad less refined than Lambrusco di Sorbara. It makes wines in the frizzante and amabile styles which people usually drink young and fresh. Grasparossa refers to the ruby red color of the stems. One of the most widely sold Lambruscos in the US is from Cleto Chiarli. That winery was founded in 1860.


There are over 60 varieties of Lambrusco that are known, perhaps even more, but only six or seven of them are considered the more prestigious ones. Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce is named for its shape which resembles a small salami. This variety grows around the wonderful city of Modena and specifically the area around the town of Carpi. It is has a lot of color and brings fruity, floral aromas and flavors to the blend. It also brings moderate alcohol and tannins. There is a consortium for the producers who make Lambrusco around the city of Modena, and also a cooperative, with 250-300 members, that specializes in wines made from Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce. For natural wine lovers out there, here’s a Lambrusco made from 100% Salamino di Santa Croce from Luciano Saetti which available in the US from Louis Dressner.

I have written many other posts on Lambrusco, here are links to some of them:





There is also Lambrusco in the region of Lombardy, Lambrusco Mantovano was created in 1987 and the wines must contain a minimum of 85% Lambrusco Viadanese, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani and/or Lambrusco Salamino grapes. I found a number of wineries making wines from this variety, such as that of Azienda Agricola Miglioli Angelo. According to their website this is an ancient clone of Lambrusco and their family took cuttings from the property of Principe Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna. I used a Lambrusco Mantovano from Azienda Agricola Pagliare Verdieri. at my Lombardy seminar at the Society of Wine Educators conference last summer thanks to my friend, Jan d’Amore, an importer of wonderful Italian wines in New York. I wrote a long post about it here

I could go on about Lambrusco but I’ll stop here before the posts gets even longer. I’m a big fan as you can tell. Looking forward to the chat today and reading everyone’s post on Italian sparklers. Cin-Cin.

For more information about Italian sparkling wines, and food pairings,  be sure to check out what my fellow Italian Food, Wine and Travel writers have discovered below.

Check out what my fellow #ItalianFWT wine and food writers discovered about Italian sparkling wines!

Please join our chat on Twitter.   We love visitors and happily chat and answer questions. Simply follow the  #italianfwt hashtag on Twitter this Saturday, December 1st at 11am ET to join the conversation!


  1. Love your post Susannah. It’s filled with passion. I haven’t had enough Lambrusco, but the Fattoria Moretto has inspired me to seek out more. Need to track down a bottle of the Cheto Chiarli!

  2. I’m glad you choose Lambrusco. I’ve not had much of it but would like to get to know it better. I’m incentivised! Perhaps you can lead a session on Lambrusco at SWE2019 conference?!?

  3. Lambrusco is a wine I’d like to become better acquainted with; not so easy to find in local stores though. You’ve done a great job explaining why it’s worth the effort to track down a bottle!

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