Lambrusco is perhaps amongst the most popular Italian red wines in the world. It has enjoyed a particularly high level of popularity in the United States at various points in the wine’s history, experiencing something of a boom period during the 1970s and 1980s when millions of bottles were being imported to the country every year.
One of the causes for this popularity likely lies in the fact that it is amongst the sweetest of the red wines, which can in turn make it a little bit more palatable for those who are just being introduced to the rich textures of more complex reds. That isn’t to say that it is a drink without merit, as it is also a wine of exceptionally high quality when made by the right producer.
The term Lambrusco actually refers to both the grape and the wine that is derived from it. The grape itself is also known to be amongst the most versatile in Italy and high quality white wines and rosé are created using differing methods.
Grown principally in regions such as Parma and Modena, the grape itself has also been popular in Italian winemaking for centuries. In fact, historical evidence points to the grape being in use during the Etruscan era, which would place it origins in a pre-Roman time period. The fact that the wine has maintained a high level of popularity and use over all of those years is testament to the quality of the grape.
In modern times there are perhaps few producers of Lambrusco that can match up to the Ceci variant. In fact, the Ceci Lambrusco has become one of the most desired red wines both in Italy and across the rest of the world.
History of Ceci
Despite the burgeoning reputation of the Ceci Lambrusco the family are fairly recent additions to the wine industry, at least in comparison to some producers that can trace their origins back for hundreds of years.
By contrast the Ceci winemaking family began working in earnest back in 1938 when Otello Ceci was running a small inn in the southern area of Parma. The inn had already achieved some level of renown for the quality of its food, however many visitors also made it a point to remark on the quality of the wine that the family served.
Sensing an opportunity in the making, Otello continued to make more of his red wine and ensured that his children also became involved in the production process so that his legacy could be continued further down the line.
Over time the wine became so popular amongst his inn’s customers that grape-growers actually began to compete amongst themselves to supply to him. After all, such was the families reputation that knowing which grape was used in the wine would immediately lead to an increase in sales for that particular grape.
The family continued to create and expand their winemaking side-business until it overtook the inn. The family have also continued to stay involved and it was the new ideas brought to the fore by Otello’s grandchildren in the 1990s that saw the company begin to really grow its reputation.
Since that time the family has established a reputation for being innovators in the field, especially when it comes to their famed Ceci Lambrusco. In fact, the wines are of such a high quality that they regularly find themselves on important wine guides and other lists that highlight the best wines the country has to offer.
While the Ceci family now create a number of different wines as they activities lead them further down the path towards becoming one of the most prestigious winemakers in Italy, their crowning jewel is still their Otello Nerodi Lambrusco.
Named after the man who built the reputation of the family in those early years, this particular Lambrusco stands above the many others produced by the company and is often referred to as the Ceci family’s masterpiece.
Great care is taken in harvesting the grape, which is generally picked during the beginning of October. It will then undergo approximately seven days of cold maceration on the skins before the production process is started in earnest and the wine that many have come to know and love is actually created.
The result is a stunning Italian red wine that is a striking red with hints of violet. In keeping with the nature of a good Lambrusco the wine is both fruity and sweet and contains hints of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries amongst its many subtle flavours. Residual sugar left over from the fermentation process also ensures that the wine remains easily drinkable and is not overtaken by the deeper textures that it contains.
So what does the future hold for the Ceci family and Lambrusco in general? If current indications are anything to go by it must be said that it is likely that both are only going to continue going from strength to strength.
Lambrusco maintains its reputation internationally as well as in Italy, with the ready availability of online wine stores making it so much easier to buy a bottle and sample variants of the wine from different manufacturers. It is likely that this ease of access will help the wine grow in popularity as more and more people begin to experiment with their purchases and try something new.
As for the Ceci family, their future is secured thanks to the quality of their wines. Though the Ceci Lambrusco is perhaps the standout from their collection, the family also goes to great pains to ensure that the rest of the wines that they produce are of a similarly high quality. In time this quality will continue to tell and the Ceci family will gain a reputation in the international market that could rival what it has in the domestic market.
If nothing else, winemaking is clearly a passion for the Ceci family, as their reputation for innovation confirms. Look for them to continue exploring new ways to make great wines and be sure to try one of family’s Lambruscos should the opportunity present itself.