Lambrusco got a bad reputation in the 1970s for being a cheap and sweet red wine that tasted like soda pop. Fortunately, in the four decades since, it has made gigantic leaps and bounds to becoming a wine worth seeking out. Primarily produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, new world examples from Australia and Argentina are appearing on shelves that are just as delicious.
Lambrusco comes in a variety of styles, however, the best modern ones are dry (secco) and slightly sweet (semi-secco). They are often also a little spritzy. There are ten different Lambrusco varietals that can make up a Lambrusco, with the highest quality ones being Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Salaino, and Lambrusco di Sorbara.
Lambrusco Grasparossa and Food
The Lambrusco Grasparossa grape makes the boldest Lambrusco wines, with fruity flavours of blueberry and black currant. Slightly fizzy, this wine also has nice grippy tannin, making it a perfect pair with Bratwurst Sausage, Chorizo, Butter Chicken, and BBQ Ribs.
While native to Italy, the best examples of this are coming out of Australia and Argentina. Again this red is slightly fizzy but has a more grape juice flavour, and a subtle chocolate overtone. We love this wine with empanadas, ham, and bacon.
This Lambrusco is the sweetest version of the four we list. While remaining subtly sweet, this wine, when well made, will have a tannin backbone. You can skip the ketchup and or bbq sauce when pairing this with grilled burgers.
Lambrusco di Sorbara
The lightest Lambrusco of our top four holds up to spicy Thai Cuisine with its dry and refreshing style. Interesting notes of mandarin, cherry and violet. Aside from Thai, we love this red with catfish, ham, tapas, and grilled veggie-topped pizza.
Lambrusco and Food Pairings
In many cases, you’ll find that Lambrusco is a blend of the above grapes mentioned. In situations like this, pay attention to if it’s dry, semi-sweet, and expect it to be slightly fizzy, and low in alcohol. Thus, this makes Lambrusco perfect for everyday food like pizza, burgers, sausage, pulled pork, lamb, and grilled chicken wraps with bacon.
As it’s originally from Italy, you can guess that Lambrusco is fantastic with traditional Italian fare such us Salumi like Salami, Prosciutto, Mortadella and Bresaola. It’s also excellent with Italian style Sausages that feature fennel, and Porchetta.
Do you have a favourite Lambrusco and Food Pairing? Let us know below in the comments.