Lambrusco, a semi-sparkling red, has been present in the Reggio Emilia area since time immemorial. It would seem to have been in Bronze Age times that the ancient inhabitants of the Terramare civilisations began farming vines.
Its name Lambrusco came from the Latin vitis lambrusca, a term the Romans used for the wild vines which produced astringent tasting fruit and grew on the edges of the countryside.
Over the centuries the history of this semi-sparkling wine continued at Matilda of Canossa’s medieval court and Bologna-born Pier De Crescenzi recommended full-blown farming of the wild Vite Labrusca in his agriculture treatise written in 1300.
The years went by and by the 1800s Lambrusco was being sold at three times the price of other wines in Modena’s restaurants and trattorias, often costing more than the rest of the meal, and was being served exclusively in bottles, never by the litre!
Its very long history is, therefore, closely bound up with its land of origin and a glass of good Lambrusco is packed with the culture and traditions of the lands it comes from and the people who work it.
From its original generic wild vine it acquired the status of vine family and constant evolution has led to it encompassing a range of varieties and seven appellations. Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco di Modena, Lambrusco Reggiano, Lambrusco dei Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa and Lambrusco dell’Emilia, each bound up with specific territorial reference points in the Modena, Reggio, Parma and Mantua areas. These are lands in which this attractive wine combines perfectly with traditional cuisine: fizzy, crisp and playful, it goes ideally with the area’s many savoury, rich dishes.
So raise your glasses and drink to Lambrusco, our ancient but modern wine combining a vibrant red colour with fine bubbles.