When you talk about Lambrusco wines or buy a Lambrusco bottle of wine, you need to know that there are a lot of varieties of this wine.

Lambrusco is a lively and frizzy wine which can be paired to many meat-based dishes and with cheeses and cold cuts.
Lambrusco is a lively and frizzy wine which can be paired to many meat-based dishes and with cheeses and cold cuts.

There are 60 Lambrusco varieties, but the main and most famous are seven:

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

Their common characteristics are the red color, a lively evanescent sparkle, a violet-laden or fruity bouquets, pleasant acidities, and moderate alcohol levels. The various denominations allow the production of a 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. 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 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 of Parma Province by the Consorzio Volontario per la Tutela dei vini DOC dei Colli di Parma.

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.

Lambrusco wines and varieties in detail

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, 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 Modenese Lambruschi too. 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.

The Reggiano Lambrusco DOC made in the Province of Reggio Emilia can contain Lambrusco Salamino, Sorbara, Maestri, Marani, Montericco and Ancellotta. 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.