The Delicious, Sparkling Red Wine
Slightly sparkling and utterly unique, Lambrusco is a delightful, food-friendly red wine that’s perfect for sipping throughout the day. Though it’s not as well known as some of its other bubbly counterparts, such as Champagne and Prosecco, Lambrusco offers a wonderful option for sparkling wine lovers. Let’s take a look at this effervescent red and discover why you may want to pick up a bottle of Lambrusco on your next wine-buying excursion.
History and Origin of Lambrusco
Lambrusco is a slightly sparkling (frizzante) red wine made from a grape of the same name — both of which originate from Italy. There are four zones in the Emilia-Romagna region and one in Lombardy that grow these high-yielding grapes and produce Lambrusco wine. While it hasn’t garnered the mass appeal of other reds, Lambrusco is one of the oldest in Italy, dating back to the Bronze Age (approximately 3300 B.C.).
Although reds are the most common type of Lambrusco, there are a few rosé varieties available as well. The wine surged in popularity in the United States during the 1970s and 80s and has recently experienced another resurgence. Luckily, this is not a wine that will break the bank if you want to participate in the Lambrusco renaissance. Quality does not indicate costliness with this fizzy beverage, as some sommelier-approved bottles can be purchased for $20 or less.
How is Lambrusco Made?
Winemakers typically use a blend of Lambrusco grape varieties to make their signature bottle of Lambrusco wine. Although there are over 60 varieties of the grapes, the most common ones used are Lambrusco Salamino, Labrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, and Lambrusco di Sorbara. While select Lambrusco wines are made using only one type of these grapes, the majority use a blend to achieve the desired flavor.
Like Prosecco, Lambrusco is made using the Charmat method, which gives this wine its effervescence. Unlike most red-making methods that include a single fermentation, the Charmat method puts the wine through a second fermentation in a large tank before it is bottled. This additional round is what provides the distinctive fizz.
How to Serve Lambrusco
Lambrusco is not a wine that ages particularly well, so it is best served fresh and cold – between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit – in a white wine glass.
With its low ABV and high acidity, Lambrusco makes an incredibly versatile choice for food pairings. It works beautifully with other foods that are native to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, such as Parmessiano Reggiano and prosciutto. However, the choices don’t stop there. It is also a delicious companion for brick-oven pizza, poultry dishes, fruit-based desserts, charcuterie boards, hard cheeses, tacos, and pasta. If you need a lively wine that plays nicely with brunch, lunch, or dinner, Lambrusco makes an outstanding choice!
See, Smell, and Taste Notes
Because Lambrusco is slightly sparkling, pouring a glass will reveal a red beverage with delicate bubble trails dancing throughout the glass. Depending on the winemaker and varietal, the wine’s color can range from bright, light reds to dark, almost inky purples.
Like other sparkling wines, Lambrusco ranges from very dry to very sweet. You’ll likely notice one of the following terms on the bottle label:
- Secco – bone dry/dry
- Amabile – off-dry/sweet
- Dolce – very sweet
Most of the Lambruscos you’ll find in the store will be classified as amabile, but it’s worth noting that many wine experts claim that the dryer varieties taste better and offer higher quality.
When drinking a glass of Lambrusco, expect a crisp wine with high acidity and fruit-forward notes of cherry, strawberry, and blackberry. Some varieties also have an earthy essence highlighted with floral notes of violet, peppery notes of citrus zest, and a fruity hint of pink grapefruit.
If you want to add a delightfully zesty red to your list of favorite wines, look no further than the fun and fizzy Lambrusco! Whether you pair it with your favorite dinner dish or sip it during a brunch date with friends, we’re sure that, like us, you’ll love your Lambrusco!