Lambrusco Wine: An In-Depth Guide

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Are you obsessed with drinking red wine? You most likely drink more of it during winter and less in summer. You can enjoy a glass of Pinot better by a fireplace than when sweating by your swimming pool. The need for a warm-weather alternative is why Rosé’s sales increased by a whopping 53% when its popularity rose in 2017. It is summer’s pink water. There is an even better wine bottle to reach for: the Lambrusco.

For a wine that does it all, look no further than Lambrusco. The wine comes in various varieties, ensuring you have several options for winter. So, what is a Lambrusco wine? How is it made? How does the wine taste? Read on to learn all about Lambrusco.

What is Lambrusco Wine?

Hailing from northern Italy in the Emilia-Romagna region, Lambrusco is a red wine mirroring Italian culture and lifestyle. The term “Lambrusco” refers to a family of red grapes used in producing the sparkling drink. Lambrusco wine is among the oldest wines produced in Italy, which dates back many years to the Bronze age.

The wine comes in varieties that range from sweet to dry and can have different colors, from deep inky purple to light red. They typically make Lambrusco in lightly sparkling (Frizzante) or spumante style. Its alcohol levels are relatively low. It is fruit-forward with berry flavors and floral notes based on the variety.

What is Special About Lambrusco?

Wine is a very personal drink. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to taste and style. But, do you know what makes Lambrusco wine so special? What makes Lambrusco wine unique is its versatility. You can serve it at any time of the day, whether brunch or dinner. The drink is beloved by Italians due to how accessible it appears. It pairs well with pasta dishes, soups, and red meats. It has earned a reputation as one of Italy’s most beloved wines, yet it remains underrated in the rest of the world. There is a reason why Lambrusco can be found in almost all Italian households.

Where Does Lambrusco Come From?

Lambrusco is a Frizzante (slightly sparkling) red wine produced in Italy. It has roots that date back to Roman and Etruscan times. The grape used in wine production is also called Lambrusco. The wine is produced in provinces of northern Italy, often in Emilia-Romagna. The grapes for the wine production come from 4 varying zones; Parma, Modena, Mantua in Lombardy, and Reggio-Emilia.

If you want an Italian wine mirroring how it would feel to visit Italy, Lambrusco would be the best choice, not Prosecco, Barolo, or Brunello di Montalcino. Lambrusco captures every Italian character. It is lively and colorful.

How is Lambrusco Produced?

The producing Lambrusco starts with the planting of the right grape variety. After harvesting, the grapes are taken to a collection point where they are sorted. They are then fermented in tanks to start the process of alcohol production. However, all Lambrusco has to undergo secondary fermentation within a sealed tank in the Charmat method. It used to be done inside a bottle, like champagne, without disgorging the yeast.

Cost and ease of making the wine in a tank and the consumer’s general distaste for the yeast sediments floating on their wine phased out the use of the Champagne method in the production of Lambrusco. The method is making a comeback. The wines made using this process are labeled Spumante and are more sparkling.

Though red Lambrusco is the most predominant style, the rosé format is also used. Lambrusco wines have low ABVs, making them ideal for popping every hour of any day. In Italy, you are likely to find Lambrusco on lunch and breakfast tables.

What Does Lambrusco Taste Like?

The wine is available in secco (dry), dulce(sweet), and Semi-secco (semi-sweet) varieties. The best Lambrusco tends to be semi-secco or secco, and lower quality, cheaper wines tend to be overly sweet. Based on your preferences and style, the flavor and characteristics like acidity, color, and tannins can differ.

Lambrusco wines are strong on berries, including boysenberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and have dark cherry flavors. Other varieties contain fragrant florals, like baking spice, orange zest, violet, pepper, pink grapefruit, and notes of rhubarb. The nose may include almonds, ripe fruit, spice, and raisin hints.

Overall, Lambrusco has a very diverse flavor profile depending on the variety. A good way to discern between the wines is by looking at their color. The darker they are, the more robust and full-bodied they will be. Although there are over 60 varieties, the most common ones are:

Lambrusco di Sorbara = medium-bodied, delicate with aromas of strawberries

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro = full-bodied, sweet and spicy

Lambrusco Salamino = medium to full-bodied, fruity like cherry

Lambrusco di Modena = light bodied, fresh and fruity

Lambrusco Marani = sparkling wine, sweet with a soft nose

Lambrusco Maestri = sparkling wine, lightly sparkling with berry notes

Which Foods Can You Pair with A Lambrusco Glass Of Wine?

Lambrusco wine pairs best with native Italian foods like salty cheese, aged vinegar, aged meat, hearty pasta dishes, and briny olives. Try serving a secco Lambrusco with a cheese plate, including Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto, or a loaf of bread that you can dip in balsamic vinegar.

Better yet, serve the wine with grilled meat like meat lover’s pizza or sliced skirt steak for the best or flavorful meal. The wine is also fizz and can help you cut through French fries and fried chicken. You can pair the wine with heartier meals like roast chicken.

The best thing regarding this wine? You do not have to limit it to savory foods. A sweet Lambrusco wine best pairs with cherry pie, chocolates, summer berry galette, and other fruit-forward desserts. Serve a glass of Lambrusco wine chilled to about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit in a rustic tumbler or a white wine glass, and avoid champagne glasses. Lambrusco should be enjoyed young, therefore purchase a fresh wine bottle and enjoy it in the soonest time possible.

What Is Lambrusco Used For?

Red wines, like Lambrusco, are used in parties and weddings. Having a bottle of Lambrusco has many benefits for your body. It has the reputation of being an unrefined sugary wine. Like with any red wine, the following are the uses of Lambrusco.

Fighting Cancer

Grape skins contain polyphenols. One component of these polyphenols is an antioxidant called resveratrol that helps fight cancer. A study conducted by the University of West Virginia revealed that taking several glasses of red wine in a week can help fight cancer cells. The resveratrol in Lambrusco inhibits a protein that feeds the cancer cells. It means that intake of red wine like Lambrusco combats the disease.

Heart Protection

Red wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols that are almost as effective as aspirin in preventing blood clotting. Atherosclerosis is a condition where arteries harden because of a fatty plaque within the blood vessels. It is the leading cause of heart attacks. According to an analysis conducted by the American Heart Association, there was a decrease in the rates of atherosclerosis reduced by about 32% among people who took several glasses of red wine, like Lambrusco regularly.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

Red wine contains both astringent and antioxidant properties. The two are excellent in preventing UTIs (urinary Tract Infections) because they inhibit the bacteria from reaching the bladder. Red wine like Lambrusco improves the depuration and filtering of the urinary organs.


There has been controversy surrounding red wine’s effect on aging. In 2013, it was confirmed that resveratrol, an antioxidant in polyphenols found in red wine and grape skin, helps combat the negative impacts of aging. Resveratrol stimulates and enhances the production of SIRT1, which is a disease-combatting serum and also provides anti-aging properties. It also reduces wrinkles and provides moisture to skin cells, so they appear more radiant.

How To Store Lambrusco Wine

Store your Lambrusco wine in a cool and dark place, not on the fridge. Use a cellar or a traditional closet for storage. Keep the bottle of wine upright on its side, ensuring that it is stored in an area where there is no light exposure. When properly stored, it can last for a week or two. Opening the bottle and storing it will not affect its quality as long as you keep it upright and in a cool and dark place.

How To Tell If Lambrusco Wine Is Bad

Examine the wine for a color change. If it has a different tint, it is bad and should not be consumed. Also, check if the label has been tampered with by anyone other than you.

Bad smelling or tasting wines are also signs that indicate that the bottle is bad. If it smells or tastes like moldy vegetables, avoid drinking the wine.

If you suspect that your red wine has gone bad, do not attempt to drink it because its noxious components can damage your internal organs.


Do you want to get an Italian experience without traveling? Try a bottle of Lambrusco wine. Whether bone-dry or sweet, Lambrusco is the best Italian wine you will ever taste, not Prosecco. The attention to detail in its production makes it among the most hygienic drinks. You can use the wine with virtually any food. Whether at a party, at a wedding, or celebrating a friend’s achievement, popping a bottle of Lambrusco will add fun to the experience. The drink is relatively cheap compared to other red wines. So, if you are obsessed with drinking red wine (which most people are) and your finances are not all well, a glass of Lambrusco will not hurt. While ensuring fun, the good thing is that you also gain some health benefits.

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