What is Lambrusco?



UPDATED 2/23/2012 with informaion from RethinkLambrusco.org

When I first heard of Lambrusco, my mind drifted to some sort of osso bucco made out of lamb. While that sounds delicious, that is not what this stuff is at all. Lambrusco is a very gently sparkling red wine from Italy. Wines made from the Lambrusco grape get the same name, but not all of them are sparkling. The best of the Lambrusco wines are classified as frizzante, which means very lightly sparkling.

Back in the day, Labrusco was quite popular. Almost 40 years ago, it reached its pinnacle as the top selling imported wine in the US. Over time, Lambrusco has fallen out of favor domestically, but is still popular world wide.

Similar to other Italian sparkling wines, Lambrusco is made in the Charmat method instead of the Methode Champenoise. It is generally quite sweet with lots of berry flavors and heavy acidity. However, if you were to go to the regions in Italy where Lambrusco is produced, it is more frequently dry instead of sweet. If you’re like me and don’t have the option of going to Emilia and Lombardy to sample this “true” Lambrusco, look in your local wine store for bottle Lambrusco with at least 10.5% alcohol that are also labeled secco or dry.