Don't write off Lambrusco, says Andrea Briccarello, who explains the three main varieties and picks five wines to try...
Scroll down to see Bricarello’s best Lambrusco wines
The three main Lambrusco wine varieties have distinctive personalities:
1) Lambrusco di Sorbara is pale in colour, with zingy, raspberry-like acidity; Grasparossa di Castelvetro has a mellow, fruity and elegant structure; while Salamino has intense, deep colour and layers of concentrated, red forest fruits.
Lambrusco di Sorbara Bunches are widely spaced. Poor pollination at flowering can affect bunch development. The vines are grown on a mixture of sand and clay on the flat valley floor.
The grapes are known for their sapidity – that light, salty sensation more often associated with varieties such as Picpoul de Pinet – plus high acidity. Versatile in terms of style, these give their best refermented in the bottle, via the ancestrale or the traditional method, gaining complexity on the lees.
Once in the glass, it shows delicate floral notes of roses, violets and blueberries.
2) Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro As its name suggests – graspa, stalk, rossa, red – the leaves and stalks of this variety turn red as harvest approaches. It prefers poor soils of limestone and clay with good drainage, ideally on the picturesque hills on the side of Castelvetro.
It has a much deeper ruby colour and more complex aromas of cherries and wild strawberries. The amabile (off-dry) style is what made Lambrusco famous all around the world.
3) Lambrusco Salamino Owing its name to the shape of the grape, similar to a salami, the bunches are compact with small berries. Grown on the flat land around Santa Croce di Carpi, to the northwest of Modena, it is the richest of the Lambrusco varieties in terms of colours and structure, with aromas of raspberries, dark cherries and plums.
Lambrusco wine: Five to try:
Delicate and aromatic red flower notes with plum undertones. Quite intense on the palate with a well-balanced freshness, bright acidity and a youthful, fruity finish.
Generous concentration and explosive summer fruit cocktail notes on the nose.Very elegant on the palate with plenty of structure and a vibrant, red forest fruits finish. Incredible texture and length. Remarkable richness and luscious finish.
This single-vineyard Lambrusco shows incredible structure and intensity. Rich, complex strawberry jam notes; followed by luscious blueberries and violets on the finish. A very serious wine.
Rustic and beautifully crafted, with earthy notes and hints of beetroot on the nose, followed by dark cherries. Intense blackberries on the palate and a very long finish.
Terroir-driven wine. Fresh strawberries and raspberries. Dry with sherbert-like freshness. Perfectly balanced acidity and red forest fruit persistence. Sorbara at its best.