Lambrusco: A Fizzy Red Wine for Fall

Venturini Baldini Lambrusco dell'EmiliaOne of our favorite fizzy reds, Lambrusco, hails from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Emilia-Romagna is also the home of culinary heavy-hitters Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar. Lambrusco suffered for decades from a bad reputation after mass production of less than quality vino in the 1970s and 80s. But, during the past few years, we’ve seen Lambrusco sales jump as folks begin to import better quality, delicious wines made by careful and conscientious winemakers. Here are two examples we’ve been enjoying this season:

Venturini Baldini Lambrusco dell’Emilia
The organic grapes for this very popular Lambrusco are grown on hills overlooking fields of grazing cows whose milk will become Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. We like it for its dry earthiness and its affinity for cured meats like culatello as well as Prosciutto di Parma. This is ultimate pizza wine.

Podere il Salento Lambrusco L'AlbonePodere il Salento Lambrusco “L’Albone”
From their tiny parcel of 4 hectares just outside Modena, Gianpaolo Isabella and his brother-in-law Marcello make a handful of organic, traditional wines. The wines are fermented with wild yeasts, and the second fermentation for the Lambruscos take place in bottle. L’Albone is their version of a classic Lambrusco, made with two local grapes, salamino di santa croce and sobrara. It is darker and spicier than the Baldini Lambrusco, perfect alongside a crisp, meaty pizza or an antipasto platter with richer meats like cacciatorini or wild boar salami.

Julie Cappellano is the General Manager and wine buyer at Formaggio Kitchen South End, Boston.