Lambrusco is rooted in Emilia: the two have gone hand in hand for thousands of years. Before the Greeks colonised northern Italy in the 10TH century BC, the grape vine was already being domesticated in the Po valley. Over time this would lead to the creation of the Lambrusco family of grapes.
In 2000 Consorzio Marchio Storico dei Lambruschi Reggiani was created. The consortia’s work, as well as the approval, in 1970, of the Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce and Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOCs, contributed to the development and promotion of Lambrusco wines beyond Italy’s borders.
Consumption of these wines increased so much that it led to a boom in popularity in the 1980s and ‘90s when Lambrusco became one of Italy’s most important wines for export.
Today the many consortia producing Lambrusco wines are united under the umbrella of the Consorzio Tutela Lambrusco DOC, which was formed in 2021.
? Lambrusco Reggiano: the majority of Lambrusco wines, especially those exported across the world, are from this vast wine-producing area in the Po river valley and hills outside Reggio Emilia. Versions range from sweet and sparkling to dry, full-bodied reds that pair well with the region’s rich pastas and charcuterie. Search out Reggiano Lambrusco Salamino DOC, a fresh, floral wine with an elegant bouquet.
? Lambrusco di Modena: the lively Lambrusco varieties produced in this area come in both red and rosé and are distinctive for their balance and body. With their festive foam and bright color, these are a chic and easy-to-pair gateway to the world of Lambrusco.
? Lambrusco di Sorbara: considered the best of the Lambrusco wines, this appellation’s intense color, elegant evanescence, and violet bouquet set it apart. With its high acidity, it pairs perfectly with area delicacies like Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and pasta con ragù.
? Colli di Scandiano e Canossa Lambrusco: the Lambrusco wines produced in these hills surrounding Reggio Emilia come in a range of intensities and can be either still or sparkling. Most notable are the dry Grasparossa varieties, that begin crisp but leave a lingering fruity finish.
? Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro: with its full body, high alcohol content, and assertive tannins, this wine produced around the town of Castelvetro di Modena is a good choice for those who like bold, in-your-face reds. The deep purple colour and notes of violets, plums, strawberries, and black cherries give it a depth and character not often associated with its more lightsome cousins.
? Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce: rooted in the plains around Carpi, this is among the most structured of the Lambrusco wines, with a deep ruby-red color, persistent bouquet, and fruitiness that cuts the fatty Emilian pork dishes down to size.
? Lambrusco Mantovano: these wines are produced in the only appellation located across the regional border in Lombardy. Generally dry and low in alcohol, they are known for their fruity, floral notes.
? Colli di Parma*: Possibly saving the best til last here! This fine, celebrated dry wine (Lambrusco Brut) has a rich front, oaky middle and peppery fresh finish: a rich full bodied yet easy-going bouquet that makes it perfect for pairing with cold cuts, pizza (yes, pizza) and classic Parmigiani ‘Tortelli’ pasta dishes.
*Featured on our food days at FWT.