Lambrusco is the name of both a red wine grape and an Italian wine made principally from the grape. The grapes and the wine originate from four zones in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy, principally around the central provinces of Modena, Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Mantova. The grape has a long winemaking history with archaeological evidence indicating that the Etruscans cultivated the vine. The most highly-rated of its wines are the frothy, frizzante (slightly sparkling) red wines that are designed to be drunk young from one of the five Lambrusco denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) regions: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Lambrusco Reggiano, and Lambrusco Mantovano.
The Lambrusco grape has shown itself prone to developing several clones and sub varieties to where there is no one singular "Lambrusco grape". By the end of the 20th century, ampelographers had identified over 60 varieties of Lambrusco scattered throughout Italy including-Piedmont, Sicily and the Veneto.
Although traditional Lambrusco is an almost entirely cork-stopped, dry (secco) red wine, the Lambrusco Reggiano DOC is also used to make amabile (slightly sweet) and dolce (sweet) versions of Lambrusco through use of up to 15 percent of the Ancellotta grape.
The wine is noted for high acidity and berry flavors. Many of the wines now exported are blends of Lambrusco from the different DOC and is sold under the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designation Emilia.
The wine is is typically made using the Charmat process where a second fermentation is conducted in a pressurized tank.
Lambrusco has been object of massive speculations in the booming years of the wine industry, and its became vastly associated to being a mass-produced low-cost wine of poor quality.
Luckily for us there are wineries like Cantina Bassoli that are now aiming to raise the standards and successfully achieving the expected results by scoring unprecedented awards for the high quality Lambruscos they produce.
Forget the cheaply made stuff on the supermarket shelves, the real Lambrusco is here!