Poet Virgilio mentioned it and it's probably more popular than Ferrari in Modena. It's Lambrusco wine, what else?
Learn how it's made, which to choose and which are the best Lambrusco wineries in Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia.
What is Lambrusco
Lambrusco is a red sparkling wine with a colour that varies from a deep purply red to light pink as a rosé.
Its name comes from the Latin word labrŭscum, the fruit of labrusca, the savage grape.
How popular is it?
Well, consider that it's Italy's most exported wine.
In 1860 Cleto Chiarli started to bottle the Lambrusco that he produced for his tavern in Modena. Previously it had only been available in bulk.
In the 70s' it was so popular that Enzo Ferrari in 1978 convinced a Lambrusco producer to sponsor the Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve.
How it's made
Lambrusco has high acidity and low alcohol.
And because the grape skins are left on during production, it comes in reddish hues from pretty pink to deep red. This means it’s acidic and refreshing (like Prosecco) but with tannic, red wine qualities.
Where it's produced
Lambrusco comprises 7 DOCs, a mosaic of vineyards enclosed in an area between Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma and Mantua.
The official varieties of Lambrusco grape are:
- Lambrusco a foglia frastagliata
- Lambrusco Barghi
- Lambrusco Benetti
- Lambrusco del Pellegrino
- Lambrusco di Sorbara
- Lambrusco Grasparossa
- Lambrusco Maestri
- Lambrusco Marani
- Lambrusco Montericco
- Lambrusco Oliva
- Lambrusco Salamino
- Lambrusco Viadanese
Lambrusco wineries in Modena
A large producer, one of the oldest with its 160 years of history.
In 1860 Cleto Chiarli began to bottle the Lambrusco that he produced for his tavern in Modena – previously it had only been available in bulk.Its popularity began with the "Mention Honorable" of the Paris' Universal Exhibition in 1900.
Try its Lambrusco di Sorbara "Premium Mention Honorable" to have a toast to its glorious past.
Via Daniele Manin, 15, 41100 Modena
Tel. +39 059 316 3311
A small producer of pure Sorbara Lambrusco.
Try Radice, refermented in the bottle, but don't miss to taste their Balsamic vinegar of Modena or, why not, a shot of their grappa.
Via Cristo, 49, 41030 Sorbara MO
Tel. +39 059 902047
Opera02 isn't only one of the best hotels in Modena, a great restaurant and a stunning place to relax on the hills.
Mattia is the master of 4 Grasparossa lambrusco: Amabile, Secco, Pura and Rosa (pink). I can assure you're in good hands with him.
Via Medusia, 32, 41014 Levizzano Rangone MO
Tel. +39 059 741019
Another old producer in Sorbara, in the valley of Secchia and Panaro rivers.
Try their 100% Sorbara Lambrusco called Vigna del Cristo made with Charmat method.
Via Canaletto, 52, 41030 San Prospero
Tel. +39 059 812480
Born as an association of producers in 1907, Cantina di Santa Croce is still there in its original headquarter.
Get the Lambrusco Salamino: hand-picked from over 30-year-old vineyards.
Strada Statale 468 per, SS Per Correggio, 35, 41012 Carpi (MO)
Tel. +39 059 664007
4 generations devoted to Lambrusco. This is Zanasi.
Try the organic Sassostorno, from Grasparossa grapes, which takes its name from the stone brought by the Tiepido river.
InfoVia Settecani Cavidole, 53, 41051 Castelnuovo Rangone
Tel. +39 059 537052
We're in the lands of Sorbara, but Christian and his father Giuseppe's passion is for Champagne. That's where they learn Metodo Classico to apply to their Lambrusco.
Get Lambrusco 36, as the months it spends on the lees.
Via per Modena, 82, 41030 Bomporto (MO)
Tel. +39 059 747 3312
It all started for Paola. That's to conquer her heart that Vittorio Graziano started to make wines in 1969.
No courses or books to read, only the knowledge of the local farmers.
He's considered the pioneer of natural Lambrusco, but don't tell him.
Just drink his Fontana dei Boschi, Grasparossa. Pure joy.
Via Lunga, 7b, 41014 Castelvetro di Modena
Tel. +39 059 799162
Lambrusco wineries in Reggio Emilia
Over 80 hectares, only for organic in the countryside of Reggio Emilia. Go there for the Concerto, which won awards around the globe. You won't get disappointed.
Via Isacco Newton, 13/a 42124 Gaida di Reggio Emilia (RE)
Tel. +39 0522 942135
These are the ingredients of OttocentoNero Lambrusco, that takes the best from this land.
But don't forget their FB made with the ancestral method and Sorbara grape.
Via Alessandro Tassoni, 213, 42123 Il Capriolo (RE)
Tel. +39 0522 569505
Their first wine, Pozzoferrato, takes its name from the neighbourhood where they work. You can't call it Lambrusco, but who cares.
Only 9000 bottles per year, when you're lucky.
SP12, 52, 42027 Montecchio Emilia (RE)
Tel. +39 338 920 7725
Cinquecampi Rosso, macerated on the skins in oak and chestnut vats, is the one you should try first.
Via F. Menozzi, 27, 42020 Montecavolo (RE)
Tel. +39 0522 880702
Libeccio, Ponente, Levante.
Denny's wines take their names from the winds.
His kingdom is in Coviolo, just outside Reggio Emilia. That's where he rented a few hectares from his grandfather and plant his own vines in 2003.
Now he's one of the most brilliant producers of artisanal Lambrusco.
His wines improve over time, taste them after 10 or 15 years and let me know.
He even rediscovered Montericco, an ancient variety of rustic Lambrusco that gives floral notes and acidity.
Via Carlo Darwin, 2, 42123 Reggio Emilia
Tel. +39 320 022 9600
Lambrusco wineries in Parma
A modern canteen on the hills of Parma, with vineyard immersed between rivers, woods and lakes.
Nabucco, a Barbera, and Callas, a Malvasia, are an homage to Parma's theatre tradition.
But it's the organic Lambrusco I Calanchi DOC the one you're looking for.
Str. Monticello, 22, 43046 Ozzano Taro (PR)
Tel. +39 0521 309704
A family business, famous around the world.
This is Ceci, following the steps of grandfather Otello.
Deep cure for the details: like the square bottle of Otello, To You made of blackboard and sold with white chalks or the label of Bruno designed by Riccardo Guasco.
Strada Provinciale di Golese, 99, 43056 Torrile (PR)
Tel. +39 0521 810252
Now that you know the best Lambrusco wineries. Isn't it time to drink it?
Come join us during our Modena food tour to get a great Sorbara with some tigelle.
Or jump in the Parma food tour to pair the red bubbles with culatello and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Do you want to visit a winery and have a Lambrusco tasting around the vineyards?
Get in touch and I'll do my best to match your sparkling desires.
[photo courtesy of Infraordinario Studio]