Lambrusco is both the name a red wine grape varietal - along with an Italian sparkling wine made from the same grape. The grape varietal and the wine originate from 4 areas in Emilia-Romagna and 1 area in Lombardy, but mainly around the central provinces of Modena, Parma, Reggio Emilia and Mantua. Records show that the Etruscans cultivated the vine, giving further evidence to the varietals long history in Italy.
The most recognised style of wines are the frizzante (slightly sparkling) red wines that are crafted and designed to be enjoyed young from one of the 6 Lambrusco DOP's: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Colli Di Parma Lambrusco, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Lambrusco Reggiano & Lambrusco Mantovano.

 

There are 11 - but the 6 most typically used grape varietals are; Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Montericco, Lambrusco Grasparossa and Lambrusco Sorbara, and all are indigenous to Emilia. The grape itself is not particularly sweet but many of the sweet Lambrusco wines are made by either partial fermentation or with the addition of the sweeter Ancellotta grapes to the final wine blend.
When fermented dry, the Lambrusco grape is capable of producing a wine with strawberry notes and a slight bitter finish. Today it is thought to be over 60 clones of the Lambrusco varietal, scattered throughout Italy including; Piedmont, Sicily and Veneto. Along with some small planted areas in Australia and Argentina.
Although traditional Italian Lambrusco was produced as a sweet wine, today there are various levels of sweetness & dryness, including: Secco (dry), Amabile (off-dry / slightly sweet) and Dolce (sweet). The wine is also noted for high acidity and bright berry flavours. Today the wine is rarely made in a ‘bottle fermented’ style - it is typically made using the 'Method Itaiano' process where secondary fermentation takes place in a pressurised stainless steel tank.
It still must be made from at least 85% Lambrusco grapes, with the remaining 15% often being made up with Ancellotta. Even though today there are many other sparkling wine options - Lambrusco is still popular in a few wine markets.