Probably the best known wine in Emilia Romagna is perhaps Lambrusco, a sparkling, joyous red made from grapes grown on high trellised vines in four DOC zones in the Emilia provinces.
You may recall that Riunite was a large producer that shipped the sparkling red to the US and other countries back in the seventies, around the same time chianti was shipped in wicker basket bottles more suitable for colored candle holders.
But as the Italian wine industry matured so did the production of Lambrusco. Lambrusco is made for consumption within the year and very few consumers abroad have tasted the wine in its authentic dry style.
Most exported Lambrusco is sweet and ‘cherry soda like‘, so sadly many people do not get to experience the better versions. There are several varieties of the Lambrusco grape, thought to be the oldest native grape in Italy.
When it is produced dry it is considered the best match for the area’s rich cuisine. Lambrusco pairs well with the “fatty” foods of the region, most notably prosciutto and mortadella.
You’ll find the rich cherry and other bush fruits like strawberry and blackberries along with hints of almond and spice as it splashes in your mouth.
If you are planning to make yourself some Crescentine and serving it along with proscuitto, try pouring a glass of Lambrusco.
Today’s version, not the disco days sweet sparkler.
Director of Wine Education at CIBO