Friday, August 11, 2023

Settecani Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Paired with Emilia Romagna Specialties

When you think about the wines from Emilia Romagna which wines do you think ofPersonally, I think of LambruscoI’m not talking about the low-quality, overproduced, old-school Lambrusco from the 70’s and 80’s that set the negative image for Lambrusco that some may remember today.  Lambrusco has come a long way since those days with various clones of Lambrusco showing different characteristics in the wine and various levels of residual sugars from dry to sweet.  Today I’m going to share a wine from Cantina Settecani from the Grasparossa di Castelvetro area along with a suggested pairing. 

What is Lambrusco? 

Lambrusco is a slightly sparkling, frizzante, red wine grown in the north central region of Emilia RomagnaIt’s a wine that is fresh and meant to be enjoyed young and chilledIt’s typically light to medium-bodied, fruity with soft tannins and medium to high acidityThere are several Lambrusco clones, which all show a different side of LambruscoThe Lambrusco Reggiono DOC is an all-encompassing DOC throughout the regionLambrusco di Sorbara is lighter in color and is more floral and fragrant than the othersLambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro has the most body, color, tannin and richer fruitsLambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce  

You can find Lambrusco produced in a number of sweetness levels from dry (secco), semi-dry (semisecco), semi-sweet (amabile) and sweet (dolce). It’s all personal preference, but the Lambrusco of today is known for their drier style versions versus those of the sweet styles of the past.  

The Winery – Settecani 

Settecani is a cooperative in the Emilia Romagna region founded in 1923 by 48 farmers. Today the coop is comprised of over 200 farmers mostly from the areas of Castelvetro, Castelnuovo Rangone and Spilamberto. The winery is located south of Modena in the village of Settecani, from which it takes its name. Legend has it that the name Settecani derives from a time when a priest transformed 7 men into dogs that were using the lords name in vain.  

Cantina Settecani winery in Castelvetro
Cantina Settecani

The farmers pay strong attention to producing sustainable wines and in 2016 became certified through VIVA, viticulture impact assessment on the environment. These farmers not only produce grapes, but take care of livestock, pigs, fruits and vegetables to produce many of the treats from this region like parmeggiano and prosciutto. They live and breathe in the fields in which they work and live so it's important to these growers to take care of the land.  

Settecani grows grapes on over 740 acres of land with each grower tending to about 3.5-4 acres more or less. On average most of the vineyards sit at about 980 feet above sea level. They produce only sparkling wines, and their main production of Lambrusco is based on Lambrusco Grasparosso di Castelvetro, but they do work with some of the other Lambrusco clones. 

What is unique about the Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro? 

The Lambrusco Grasparossa grapes that are used in the production for the Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC are grown a few miles south of Modena around the town of Castelvetro. Thirteen communes make up this DOC on flat land that is rich in minerals and is rather fertile. The Lambrusco Grasparossa grapes produce Lambrusco that carry more color in the glass, more tannin with a higher alcohol, a fuller body and darker fruits. They tend to be more purple in color and can carry aromas of strawberries, black cherries, plums and violets. One of the regulations to be labeled under this DOC is that the wine must consist of at least 85% of the Lambrusco Grasparossa grapes with up to 15% of the other Lambrusco varieties along with Malbo Gentile.  

The Wine 

Since I never have time to prepare too far in advance for these posts, I ran to the local liquor store and didn’t have too much selection when I wanted to choose a Lambrusco. I saw one at Trader Joe’s recently, but decided to forego it as I wanted one from one of the DOCs. My only option at this liquor store was Riunite, a hard no, and my selection of the Cantina Settecani Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro. I was glad this was an option as I wanted the Lambrusco Grasparossa in particular for its body and fruit along with some tannin. I was hoping for a secco or semisecco, but this version was an amabile.  

Although I didn’t find the tech sheet on this wine, I did find a video where the winemaker mentions that this wine spends a passage in cement tanks to create balance in the wine. They use the charmat method, or known as tank method, which is where the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. You can read my previous article on the charmat method in comparison with metodo classico. 

The Cantina Settecani Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC Amabile is ruby in color with purplish hues. The aromas lean towards a grapey nose with blueberry jam, ripe raspberries and violets. This was a very lightly sparkling wine that had a medium acidity giving the wine a tingle until the finish. A round sweetness on the palate of grape, blueberries and blackberries. Soft tannins near the short finish. Overall a refreshing wine and a perfect sipper if you like a tinge of sweetness and bubbles. ABV 8%, SRP $12.99 

Cantina Settecani Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC Amabile

What food should I pair with Lambrusco? 

Emilia Romagna is one of the most gastronomic places throughout Italy, but of course each region in Italy all has their own specialties that are unique to each regionIn the states we enjoy many of the culinary delights of Emilia Romagna including Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, and authentic balsamic vinegar di Modena (aceto balsamico di Modena)There is also an abundance of pork and sausage in dishes such as cotechino, which is a slow cooked sausage, and zampone, a pig hoof stuffed with sausage. 

Emilia Romagna is also known for many pasta dishes produced from pasta sfoglia, hand-rolled dough made from eggs and flourPasta sfoglia is used to create some of Emilia Romagna’s well-known pasta dishes such as lasagne, tortellini, tagliatelle, ravioli and cappelletti from the region. 

The nice thing about Lambrusco is the variety of styles that are produced from the various clones and terroirs that allow it to pair with a variety dishesLambrusco goes fantastic with a charcuterie (throw in some figs), but you can also pair it with pizzaFor Lambrusco that is more aromatic, like Lambrusco di Sorbara, you can pair it with spicy foods.  Heavier dishes and fattier meats will stand up better to Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro.   

I enjoyed a nice pre-meal drink and pairing, or aperitivo as the Italians say, with the Cantina Setticani Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and bread topped with prosciutto and a bit of parmigiano reggiano dabbled with some aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena that I bought from Acetaia di Giorgio when I visited them.  The saltiness of the prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano balanced nicely with the sweetness in the wine. It made it even more enjoyable! They were the perfect balance in body to one another.

food and wine pairing with Lambrusco Grasparossa
They always say, “what grows together goes together” and it's so true as you travel throughout all the regions of ItalyI always eat and drink whatever originates from the region in which I am visitingI’m not sure if the wine was made for the food or the food was made for the wine, but in many of the regions they create perfect harmony. 

You can find other Lambrusco wines on  This wine is imported by Monsieur Touton.


*I may receive commissions if any wines are purchased directly from the above site to support the operations of Vino Travels.  

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