By Betty Gold
October 15, 2019
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The sun has set on summertime, which means rosé season has wrapped. But before you cue the tiny violin, there’s an equally delicious style of wine you should have on tap for the fall: Lambrusco.

Lambrusco is a delicious sparkling Italian wine made from the grapes that share its name. It hails from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, just north of Tuscany. It’s actually one of the oldest wines in Northern Italy: Lambrusco grapes have been harvested and fermented since the Bronze Age, many millennia before Cabernet Sauvignon was first bottled. Although it has been produced in white and rosé styles, Lambrusco is most famous for its deep red varieties. Flavor notes vary greatly by style, but common aromas in Lambrusco include cherry, blackberry, violet, and rhubarb.

“I consider Lambrusco the mysterious cousin to classic white sparkling wines, like Prosecco,” says Christopher Hoel, the founder of Harper’s Club and expert wine curator for Wine Insiders and Martha Stewart Wine Co. Because it’s less effervescent and lower in alcohol content than its bubbly counterparts, Lambrusco is the perfect wine for (every)day drinking, a la rosé. “You can find Lambrusco varieties with a range of sweetness, but I like to keep it dry,” Hoel adds.

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Which brings us to why Lambrusco is a great wine for sipping this season. First, similar to fall, it’s a transitional wine by nature—Lambrusco’s light effervescence calls back to the warm, lazy days of summer; its ripe red berry flavor (and color) embraces the coziness of fall. And because it’s fizzy, acidic, and well-balanced, Lambrusco can cleanse the palate just as well as it’s able to pair with the season’s robust dishes, like beef and root vegetable stew, roast lamb, butternut squash, and more.

The price point to expect

Another perk with Lambrusco is its price. The process of making Lambrusco is similar to that of Prosecco: the grapes are fermented in a large tank with added yeast. This differs from Champagne, which is fermented in individual bottles. “While the ‘traditional’ method is certainly more prestigious than the ‘tank’ method, the resulting wines have a crisper, cleaner taste and are less expensive,” says Hoel. You can typically get a good bottle of Lambrusco for around $15.

Also, take note: Lambruscos are meant to be consumed young, so pay close attention to the year on your bottle to ensure freshness.

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What pairs well with Lambrusco?

Lambrusco pairs beautifully with foods from its home country: the fizziness, acidity, and berry flavor lighten up the hearty dishes of the Emilia-Romagna region. Pair with cured meats like artisan crafted salumi or thinly sliced prosciutto, hard cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, olives, bread dipped in balsamic vinegar, and classic Northern Italian pastas (lasagna, tagliatelle, and tortellini). If you’re not feeling the Italian vibe, don’t sweat—Lambrusco is a versatile wine that pairs well with numerous other cuisines, especially those that feature grilled meats. Try it with a burger, a chicken salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, sausages, or other lightly spiced foods.

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