Time to Leave the 70’s Behind: Don’t Dismiss Lambrusco

For us baby boomers who grew up in the 70’s, we carry around a lot of serious affections that still manage to haunt us to this very day. Images such as platform shoes and polyester shirts can still transport us back to the 70’s and invoke cringe-induced panic attacks. And after all these years we can still taste that fizzy, sweet lambrusco that we all drunk with the sole purpose of getting drunk back in the 70’s.   

And so Lambrusco became a joke among serious wine-lovers, who had little use for it, other than comparing memories of their introductions to the pleasures of hangovers.

But lets face it, the 70’s were a long, long time ago and nothing was as bad (or as good) as our failing memories lead us to believe. The time has come to consign this unfortunate impression of Lambrusco to the same locked attic trunk that holds the 70s disco wear.

Just like our ageing (or should I say "more mature") selves, Lambrusco  - real Lambrusco – no longer resembles its 1970’s persona.  The chosen beverage of millions of Italians in the Emilia-Romagna section of Italy, the authentic Lambrusco of today is far more delicious, more complex and, importantly, much drier than the cheap, sweet pretenders of yesteryear. This is because the grape itself is not particularly sweet but was sweetened in the past by partial fermentation or the addition of rectified concentrated grape must. When not fermented sweet, the Lambrusco grape is capable of producing an excellent dry wine with strawberry notes and a slight bitter finish.


Some of Australia's best Italian restaurateurs are now giving these wines pride of place on their lists, and we think its time you did too. With winter getting closer, we tend to crave comfort food and simple, satisfying wines. Lambrusco — the fizzy red wine from northern Italy captures all the characteristics that we tend to seek in the winter months. It’s bright, food-friendly, low in alcohol, and delightfully simple.

Lambrusco is just not a 70’s phenomenon – it happens to be one of the oldest wine grapes in the world; archaeological evidence has indicated Etruscans first cultivated Lambrusco vines as far back as the first century B.C. The region the wine hails from, Emilia-Romagna, is an epicure’s dream, home to prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

At base, Lambrusco is a humble, everyday wine, joyous rather than complex. Historically, it was made by farmers, and even today, a fair amount of lambrusco in Emilia is purchased directly from farms rather than from commercial sources.

At Grapes and Lager, we are fortunate to have one of the top Lambruscos from Italy. The Cantine Ceci masterpiece, Nero di Lambrusco has been produced since 2003 and has risen to become one of the most popular in Italy. Cantine Ceci's Nerodi was the first Lambrusco in history to achieve the five clusters of the Italian Sommelier Guide. The Nerodi is a beautiful Lambrusco, equipped with an important structure and a deep red purple colour.

So go on, step out of the 70’s and give it a try. There's even a global Twitter campaign to resuscitate the drink's reputation; check out @LambruscoDay or the hashtag #LambruscoRevolution.



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