Good Lambrusco exists

Lambrusco is a light bubbly red wine from Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia in Italy that does not have a good reputation at all. It is usually cheap plonk that is frowned upon by many connoisseurs. However just like almost any other wine, it is possible to make good quality Lambrusco. Over the last few years, Italy’s famous wine guide Gambero Rosso has awarded it’s tre bicchieri (3 glasses) award to dry Lambrusco. When I ordered some wine and saw the same webshop also sold this Lambrusco for less than 8 euros per bottle, I decided to try a bottle.

The 2010 Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena “Premium” is made by the house Chiarli 1860 from Modena. It is made from 100% Lambrusco Sorbara grapes, has only 11% alcohol and should be drunk around 11C/52F. It is very dry, has a pleasant bubble and a nice nose with red fruits and some mineral tones.

I dare you to find a prosecco this good at such a price! This lambrusco is an excellent alternative for prosecco to serve with antipasti, especially if the antipasti have more of a ‘red’ than a ‘white’ character (i.e. meat rather than fish, red vegetables such as red peppers). We loved it with aged parmigiano reggiano, and now that I think of it I think it will be even better if the parmigiano has been drizzled with balsamic.

Anyway, this goes to show that against all prejudice excellent lambrusco actually exists!

3 thoughts on “Good Lambrusco exists

  1. As long as Lambrusco producers continue to sell ‘bianco/white’ and ‘dolce/8% alc.” as genuine Lambrusco (none of these are consumed in Emilia and quite often of very questionable quality), real Lambrusco (secco, red, min. 10.5% alc.) will continue to have a tough time to get better known.


    1. Thanks for your comment. The only other good Lambrusco experience I’ve had was actually in Emilia, in the city of Parma, on a terrace in 2009 with some nice aged prosciutto. That lambrusco was also red and dry, but not as dry as the one from Chiarli and paired well with the sweetness of the prosciutto.


      1. Though ‘secco’ means ‘dry’ the ‘dryness level’ actually goes from bone dry to off dry. In other words in order to know what’s in a secco Lambrusco bottle one needs to know the style of a particular producer/house. See bottom section at for more info. To distinguish between bone and off dry some producers label their Lambrusco as ‘semisecco’ which covers the upper range of ‘secco’. If you don’t see a style listed on the label, you can pretty much assume that the wine is dolce/sweet and a ‘commercial/industrial version.’


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