Friday, June 17, 2016

The many styles of Lambrusco

In preparation for Lambrusco Day June 20th I thought no better time to talk about the variety of Lambrusco offered by the Emilia Romagna region than now.

What is Lambrusco?
You may be familiar with Lambrusco as the cheap Riunite sparkling sweeter red, but gosh is there much more to it than that. Lambrusco hails from the Emilia Romagna region and more specifically from the flatlands of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Here it is produced best since the vitis rupestris vines survive better than those of the vitis vinifera vines in the Romagna part of the region where sangiovese rules.
the different types of lambrusco
Grapes for Lambrusco by Caspar Diederik
There are many more styles to lambrusco than the sweeter styles we previously mentioned including  dolce (sweet) and amabile (semi-sweet).  There are also dry styles of lambrusco best known to this area that pairs well with the cuisine. Plus, lambrusco is typically known as more of a frizzante style wine than sparkling.

The 5 DOC's of Lambrusco
Like other regions of Italy there are certain terroirs, or parcels of lands, that produce very different styles of lambrusco. Depending on what your preferences are you may want to try and seek out certain lambrusco from each of the 5 DOC designations or try them all if you can get your hands on them and compare for yourself.
  • Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce DOC – known best for it's bouquet and fruitiness, it's one of the lighter styles of lambrusco. The name Salamino hails from the shape of the clusters as they are cylindrical like salami.
  • Lambrusco Reggiano DOC – this particular lambrusco is produced in high quantities and is greatly exported. It's not just sparkling, but also comes in dry styles produced from the ancellota grape.
  • Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC – one of the best of the 5 DOC's producing lambrusco that are fuller bodied styles with the grasparossa varietal instilling many tannins and dark fruit flavors to this wine.
  • Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC – this lambrusco is concentrated and probably the most acidic of all pairing well with the fatty meats of the region.
  • Lambrusco di Modena DOC – the last of the DOC's to come into existence.
    Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
    Lambrusco by Ricardo Bernardo
*I was also educated by the Lambrusco Chronicles there are 3 additional DOC's: Colli di Parma (min 85% Maestri), Mantova (in Lombardia) and Colli di Scandiano e Canossa (RE)

What to pair with Lambrusco?
When thinking about particular cuisine of this region to pair with lambrusco you'll want to think of the real parmigiano reggiano (not the imitation kinds sold in many supermarkets), prosciutto di parma, salami and pork products including zampone and a pork sausage known as cotechino.

What's your favorite lambrusco?