What is the first word that comes to mind when we say “Italian sparkling wine”.
It’s “Prosecco”, right?
That’s the answer that most would give, and with good reason seeing as it’s one of the most popular wines in the world. And if you didn’t answer Prosecco, the likelihood is that your mind jumped to one of the many other Italian sparkling white wines that are available.
“White” is the key word there.
Most of us don’t look beyond the white wine grape varieties when we talk about sparkling wines. Again, this is understandable because the vast majority of sparkling wines are made using white wine grapes.
However, there is a small selection of sparkling wines made using red grapes. And though they’re nowhere near as popular as their white wine equivalents, these red sparkling wines do have something very special to offer to any Italian wine lover who wants to dig a little deeper.
That brings us to the subject of today’s article.
Of the smattering of Italian red sparkling wines that are available, Lambrusco may be the most famous. It’s certainly the one that’s most likely to make an appearance on the shelves of your local supermarket. And again, there is a good reason for this as Lambrusco is a wine of amazing quality.
But that’s far from the only reason you should try it.
Let’s look at a few more reasons why Lambrusco may just become your new favourite Italian wine.
Reason #1 – Lowering Yields Has Created a Quality Product
A lot of people veer away from Lambrusco because of its reputation.
It’s a reputation that was, sadly, well-earned. During the 1970s, when the wine became more widely available, its general quality wasn’t especially high. Many have likened the older version of the wine to a strange fruit-based cola and they’re not far away from the truth. Lambrusco was developed to be cheap and cheerful, with quality being secondary to pumping out wines at a consumer-friendly price.
That began changing as the 20th century wore on.
Tired of the mockery being made of their region’s wine, many Lambrusco producers decided that they needed to shake things up. They started focusing on developing a quality product instead of aiming for quantity, with the results being remarkable. Allowing for lower yields ensured that these producers made Lambrusco wines that were streets ahead of the other versions on the market. Naturally, these higher-quality Lambrusco wines became more popular, which led to other producers stepping up their games.
What was once an also-ran in the Italian wine world is now a renowned and high-quality wine. So, if you’re avoiding Lambrusco because you’ve heard bad things about what it used to be like in the 1970s, just know that modern vintages offer far more quality.
Reason #2 – One Lambrusco Is Always Different From Another
As a slight follow-up to the previous point, it’s also important to note that one producer’s idea of what makes a good Lambrusco may differ from another’s. Some producers prefer to focus on offering wines that have low acidity, thus emphasising the “red” qualities of the wine. Others may shoot for a fuller body or even aim for higher acidity to follow the example of sparkling white wines.
Each Lambrusco offers something a little different. If you’ve tried a recent vintage and it wasn’t to your liking, there’s always a chance that a different producer may have something you’d prefer. The key is to figure out what you weren’t keen on with the previous vintage and then do a little research to see which producers focus on creating a Lambrusco that is more in keeping with your personal tastes.
Reason #3 – It’s Still Cost-Effective
We mentioned earlier that the quality issues Lambrusco faced a few decades ago were driven, in part, by a desire to offer the buying public a cheap wine. Of course, the renewed focus on quality that we’ve seen in more recent years has led to Lambrusco becoming more expensive…
But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to afford.
In fact, a good Lambrusco will typically set you back about €15 to €20. You’ll likely notice that this isn’t too far from what a good bottle of Prosecco will cost you, which shows how cost-effective the wine is. With today’s Lambrusco wines, you’re getting quality at a price that is still very affordable.
Reason #4 – It’s Low in Calories
Sparkling wines, in general, tend to contain far fewer calories than their still equivalents. While a regular glass of red tends to pack about 125 calories into a glass, a glass of Lambrusco will top out at 100 or so.
That’s great news if you’re trying to watch your weight.
25 calories may not seem like a big difference. But if we assume you drink two glasses of wine per day, it adds up to 350 calories per week!
Reason #5 – It Isn’t Always Sweet
Coming back to the reputation that Lambrusco developed in the 1970s, many make the mistake of thinking that the wine is always sweet. Again, this is understandable as the sweet versions of the wine were (and still are) far more popular. But for those who want something a touch more refined, there are dry versions of Lambrusco out there.
This ties in well with the point we made about different producers having their own philosophies about what makes a Lambrusco shine.
Some have leaned into the sweetness the wine is known for, ultimately developing Lambrusco wines that are ideal for complementing desserts. Others have leaned more into moving Lambrusco away from its sweet roots and towards a version of the wine that is more palatable with regular meals.
The choice as to which is best comes down to your own tastes.
But whichever you prefer, you can be sure that you’ll find it on the Xtrawine website. We currently have nearly 40 variations of the wine from a range of producers available. Check out the tasting notes we provide for each one and we’re sure you’ll find something to suit you.
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