An organic, sparkling, dry red wine from Emilia-Romagna, italy, Lambrusco is one of the most popular wines in Italy this time of year, but it’s a much-misunderstood category in the States. This is mostly due to the ocean of cheap, sweet versions that were popular here in the 1970s and 1980s, plus a perplexing diversity of grape varieties, styles, and colors.
Lambrusco has half a dozen different appellations, half a dozen different grape varieties, and ranges from the extremely high yields in the flatlands to lesser yields in the rolling hills of Castelvetro. It takes a bit of work to figure it out, but wow—once you try a couple, you will be hooked. The Grasparossa grape that grows in Castelvetro is the pinnacle of Lambrusco. More structured, and with deeper flavors, wines made with this variety are also better suited to the more classic Italian cuisine from Emilia-Romagna like lasagna (in Bologna it comes with a béchamel sauce, not tomato), gnocco fritto, or the one everyone is familiar with, the Bolognese sauce which never goes on spaghetti in Bologna—it goes on tagliatelle!