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For a wine that can do it all, look no further than lambrusco. This fruit-driven, low-ABV sparkling wine from northern Italy is perfect for sipping with a variety of foods and can join you from brunch through the evening aperitivo hour.
Lambrusco is a slightly sparkling (frizzante) red wine produced in Italy, with roots dating back to Etruscan and Roman times. Lambrusco is also the name of the grape used to produce said wine, and there are more than 60 identified varieties of the grape, although it’s generally produced from just six common varieties: lambrusco maestri, lambrusco marani, lambrusco montericco, lambrusco salamino and lambrusco sorbara. It’s produced in northern Italy, predominantly in Emilia-Romagna; the grapes grown for lambrusco production come from four different zones: Modena, Parma, Reggio-Emilia and Mantua, the last of which is located in Lombardy.
Most commonly, lambrusco wines are made in a slightly sparkling (frizzante) style using the charmat (martinotti) method, the same process used to produce prosecco. Unlike the traditional method used in Champagne, cava and crémant production, this style of sparkling winemaking involves executing secondary fermentation in a pressurized tank. Although red lambrusco is by far the most common style, the wine is also made in rosé format, as well. Lambruscos generally have relatively low ABVs, making them perfect for popping at nearly every hour of the day; they’re frequently found on breakfast and lunch tables all across Italy.
Although bubbly, lambrusco wines tend to fall on the fizzy and frothy side of the sparkling wine spectrum and are produced in styles ranging from bone-dry to very sweet. Regardless of the sweetness level, lambrusco tends to show flavors of cherries, strawberries, blackberry jam, violets, citrus zest and potting soil.
Because of its bright acid, fruit-forwardness and generally low ABV, lambrusco wines are perfect for sipping with a variety of foods and cuisines. Some of the most common pairings include pizza, poultry dishes and fruit-based desserts, though the wine is equally delicious with charcuterie boards, hard cheeses and a variety of tacos.
These are eight bottles you’ll want to pop open with your next meal.
Bini Denny Podere Cipolla Lambrusco dell’Emilia
This frothy, organic lambrusco is produced from an array of varieties of lambrusco (marani, salamino maestri, grasparossa and ancellotta) and low sulfur. The wine’s earthy floral-tinged palate shows flavors of red flowers, blackberries and sour cherries. For “natural” lambrusco in one of its finest forms, this bottle is it.
Fiorini Becco Rosso Lambrusco Grasparossa
The fruit for this organically farmed wine comes from red clay soils in the heart of Castelvetro, and the bottle might make the perfect lunch wine. Fresh, fizzy and seriously easy to drink, the wine is dominated by flavors of purple fruits, violets, currants and sweet spice.
Lini 910 Labrusca Lambrusco Rosé
Rosé of lambrusco? You bet. This classic expression of pink lambrusco is dry, juicy and seriously delicious. Flavors of white stone fruit, berries, citrus rind and bread ooze from the wine’s thirst-quenching palate. Serve it with a variety of foods, including prosciutto, caprese skewers and fresh salads.
Opera02 di Ca’ Montanari Lambrusco di Modena Secco
This vibrant acid-driven lambrusco is produced from organically farmed fruit in the heart of Modena. On the palate, the wine is savory, dry and loaded with flavors of red fruits, fresh-cut herbs, exotic spice and potting soil. Sip it chilled with juicy burgers cooked on the grill; it’s equally good with veggie versions, too.
Venturini Baldini Montelocco Lambrusco Emilia
This thirst-quenching lambrusco is produced entirely from lambrusco salamino, one of the more popular lambrusco grape varieties. Flavors of ripe plums, wild berries and rose petals jump from the wine’s full-bodied palate. It’s perfect with charcuterie boards or grilled red meats.