The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Lambrusco

One item from Emilia-Romagna that hasn’t yet broken through to ubiquity is Lambrusco, the slightly fizzy indigenous red wine that runs the gamut from sweet and desserty to dry, mineral and mouth-gripping. Lambrusco (the name of both the grape and the wine it produces) is the main grape grown in the region of Modena, sandwiched between the cities of Parma and Bologna. As in most regions in Italy, there are also a slew of Indiginous varieties planted throughout the province. Wines from Albana, Pignoletto, Fortana, and Malbo compete with the staples, sangiovese and Trebbiano, for vineyard space. In general, sangiovese and trebbiano are limited to the flatter, easily farmed plains in the southeast of the province. None of the other wines is as emblematic of the Emilia-Romagna as Lambrusco. Lambrusco is made into three types of wine. The first is slightly sweet, with straightforward fruit and a low alcohol content. This is enjoyed all over the region, and shines alongside salty cured meats and cheeses. The second type is drier, emphasizing the grape’s slight bitterness and minerality. These wines often show lovely notes of violet on the nose, and, being more structured, stand up beautifully to pork or veal roasts. The last type of Lambrusco is noticeably sweet, with delicate fruit, making it a perfect match for Emilia-Romagna’s lightly sweetened desserts.
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