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Home Flavours Enoteca Wine Dozza The lands of Lambrusco

The lands of Lambrusco

When one speaks of Lambrusco one is speaking of a family, a family whose ability to referment in the spring makes it unmistakable.


The major representatives of the varietal, of which there are about 60 clones, are seven:

  • Uva LambruscoLambrusco di Sorbara
  • Lambrusco Grasparossa
  • Lambrusco Salamino
  • Lambrusco Marani
  • Lambrusco Maestri
  • Lambrusco Montericco
  • Lambrusco Ancellotta


Their common characteristics are red color, lively evanescent sparkle, violet-laden or fruity bouquets, pleasant acidities, and moderate alcohol levels. The various denominations allow the production of dry (secco), amabile (demi-sec) and sweet (dolce) Lambrusco.


All are produced in the region surrounding the cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia -- an area with high temperatures from April through October -- but as to which city first produced it... It's a question best not asked, because both (even though the first DOC was assigned to Modena, in 1970) claim the honor!


The major varietals, in association with lesser grapes, yield a number of DOC wines produced in the territories of Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma.

The three Lambruschi of the Province of Modena are overseen and promoted by the Consorzio Marchio Storico dei Lambruschi Modenesi, those of the Province of Reggio Emilia by the Consorzio per la Promozione del Marchio Storico dei Vini Reggiani, and the Lambrusco produced in the Province of Parma by the Consorzio Volontario per la Tutela dei Vini DOC dei Colli di Parma.



In all, the annual production of Lambrusco DOC is more than 600,000 hectoliters, of which 50% ventures forth, in particular to the markets of the United States, Germany, France, Spain, and Brazil.


In all, the annual production of Lambrusco DOC is more than 600,000 hectoliters, of which 50% ventures forth, in particular to the markets of the United States, Germany, France, Spain, and Brazil.


The five different kinds of Lambrusco produced between Modena, Reggio Emilia and Parma. Lambrusco di Sorbara: a DOC wine produced entirely within the province of Modena. It can be made just from the Sorbara clone, or can be blended with up to 40% Salamino. Among the Lambruschi produced in the Modenese it is generally the least colored (tending towards pink), with fruity bouquets whose violet accents give credence to its nickname: Lambrusco della viola, the violet's Lambrusco.


Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce are also Modenese Lambruschi. They are both ruby red with violet rim, and lively, evanescent perlage. Both have especially rich bouquets, and on the palate are fresh, rich, and savory. To be precise, while, Lambrusco Grasparossa must contain at least 85% of the Grasparossa clone (the remainder can be the other two), Lambrusco di Santa Croce must be at least 90% Salamino.


The Reggiano Lambrusco DOC made in the Province of Reggio Emilia can contain Lambrusco Salamino, Sorbara, Maestri, Marani, Montericco and Ancellotta. The DOC Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa (established in 1971) instead allows Lambrusco Grasparossa and Lambrusco Montericco. In the glass, the Lambrusco of Reggio Emilia is deep ruby, with the pleasant, rich fruity bouquets typical of the wine.

Lambrusco di Parma, finally, must be made with at least 85% Lambrusco Maestri; it is intense ruby, with lively red perlage, and has a rich violet-laced bouquet.


Vinification Techniques. Lambrusco's sparkle develops spontaneously. At one time the cellar masters took advantage of the cold winter temperatures, which interrupted the fermentation: it resumed in the spring, after the wine had been bottled (refermentation in bottle). The carbon dioxide thus produced, which could not escape because of the corks, remained in solution until the bottle was opened, and then bubbled forth producing the sparkle.


Some winemakers still offer Lambrusco made following this traditional technique, but 95% use the Metodo Charmat. In the Metodo Charmat, the base wine is placed in an autoclave and selected yeasts are added, which ferment the sugars present to produce the sparkle.

From a commercial standpoint the Charmat Method offers many advantages, first of which is that the winemaker can space out bottlings, and thus offer wines that are consistently fresh throughout the year.

Last modified Nov 28, 2017

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