This month, Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam is leading a discussion for the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers (#ItalianFWT) about sparkling Italian wines…just in time for the holidays.
You can read her invitation, here. I seem to always choose to write about Lambrusco when this group writes about sparkling wine. Partly it’s because I think Lambrusco is overlooked and mostly it’s because Lambrusco has so much to offer and is still quite affordable. 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 love Emilia Romagna, the Italian region where Lambrusco comes from. It’s 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. I love this church, San Luca. I used to walk up there with a friend during graduate school.
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. While we all drank Lambrusco, which Lambrusco to drink was always up for debate. 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. I learned recently that in order to grow well, Lambrusco di Sorbara, needs Lambrusco Salamino to be a pollinator. Salamino is the most widely planted of the Lambrusco varieties.
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. Grasparossa makes wines with the most tannin and that are the darkest in color of the Lambrusco clan.
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. 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’ve written many posts on Lambrusco which can be found by clicking on the varieties listed below.
There is also a Lambrusco from Mantova that should be mentioned and which I wrote about here: Lambrusco Mantovano. Lambrusco Mantovano DOC 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 in 2017 thanks to my friend, Jan d’Amore, an importer of wonderful Italian wines in New York. I wrote a long post about it here
Lambrusco is a great pairing wine with fatty foods, with finger foods, with pizza and lasagna and with chili. It’s great in a group and tends to be less expensive than some other sparkling wines. I’m a huge fan of these versatile wines.
Check out these post by my fellow bloggers posts for our event tomorrow, Saturday, December 5th at 11:00EDT on Twitter.
- Terri of Our Good Life says Beviamo alla nostra! Prosecco Superiore and Happy Christmas!
- Marcia of Joy of Wine is Celebrating the Season with Sparkling Freisa.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences writes about Pure Trentodoc – Sparkling Wines from the Mountains.
- Jill of L’Occasion encourages us to Be in Italy for the Holidays with This Bubbly Wine Lineup.
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator pushes Beyond Prosecco? Try These Sustainable Sparkling Wines from Italy’s Erbaluce, Franciacorta, Lambrusco, Pignoletto.
- Lynn of Savor the Harvest gives us Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco to Make Your Holiday Sparkle – La Tordera Rive Di Guia.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm says Cheers to 2021…2020 Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out.
- Susannah of Avvinare pours Versatile Lambrusco for the Holidays.
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen serves Val D’Oca Prosecco Paired with Party Starters.
- Payal of Keep the Peas offers A ‘SeeYaNever2020’ Toast with Italian Bubbly.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass says Hello Again, Lambrusco – Everyone Deserves a Second Chance.
- Jane of Always Ravenous pairs a Frizzante with Holiday Sweet Treats.
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles pours Prosecco – Joyful Bubbles to “Wring” Out 2020.
- Jen of Vino Travels is ready to Sparkle up the Holidays with Prosecco Superiore.
- Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog offers A Taste of 21st Century Lambrusco; Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara Radice.
- Nicole of Somm’s Table shares The Wide World of Italian Bubblies and our host:
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is Celebrating with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Amidst the Pandemic.
Follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add that to any tweets you post so we can see it.