If you’re wondering why I’m devoting a post to Lambrusco you obviously haven’t tasted the real thing and today, Lambrusco Day, is your ideal opportunity to try it.
Forget the weedy, sickly-sweet lambruscos you may have tasted in your youth - authentic lambrusco secco is seductively crimson, frothy and totally dry.
Lambrusco is not only the collective name of several indigenous red grape varieties, such as Sorbara, Grasparossa, Salamino, Marani, Maestri, Montericco, Groppello Ruberti, Viadanese, and Barghi – to mention the 9 most common Lambrusco varieties grown in Emilia (Emilia-Romagna) and Mantova (Lombardy), it’s also a red VINO FRIZZANTE (“fizzy wine”), a type of wine that has less bottle pressure than a fully sparkling wine, such as Champagne (France) or an Italian Spumante.
So what should you eat with it? Well, in Emilia-Romagna where it’s made they almost certainly go for pork, as I've suggested before - salumi (cold meats) such as salami, prosciutto (ham), mortadella and bresaola, porchetta (rolled pork with herbs) and Italian-style sausages with fennel. It’s fantastic with pizza (you should definitely try it with pizza!) You could even drink it with lasagne and other richly sauced pasta dishes.
But I reckon it’s also a brilliant barbecue wine - drink it lightly chilled with grilled chicken, lamb or pulled pork or even a burger or steak. It will offset fatty meats such as duck or goose - it would be great with confit duck. And there’s no reason not to drink it with meaty or oily fish such as grilled tuna or sardines.
Cheese-wise you could pair it with hard sheeps’ cheeses like pecorino and with aged cheeses such as parmigiano reggiano and grana padano - or drink it - as you would drink Beaujolais with a terrine, fromage de tête or brawn.
Sweeter (amabile) lambruscos are delicious with summer fruits, especially peaches and nectarines