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With so many tasty goodies in Emilia-Romagna, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the wine. I mean it is the home of parmigiana-reggiano (parmesan) cheese,1 prosciutto di Parma (aka Parma ham), balsamic vinegar,2 Spaghetti Bolognese,3 and tortellini.

The Perfect Prosciutto Setup (c) Proscuitto Di Parma Facebook

After all that great eating, it’s definitely easy to see why the wines have a more difficult time shining. But the wines are absolutely worth exploring.

This month, the #ItalianFWT writers are focused on “Pink Wines Made from Italy’s Native Grapes.” It was a difficult choice, as Italy has like what seems to be a thousand grapes, but I ended up choosing a Lambrusco Rosato.

Some Emilia-Romagna and Lambruso Background

With respect to its wines, Emilia-Romagna is home to 2 DOCG and 21 DOC designated regions. For some who know of Emilia-Romagna wine, it may be for the region’s Lambrusco. Not that old sweet swill that gave it a bad name (but yes there is still some out there), but the tasty, fizzy wines that are (rightfully so) making a comeback. Lambrusco is hands down one of my favorite BBQ wines, as I wrote about here.

Lambrusco actually refers to a family of grapes, each with its own distinct characteristics. Lambrusco Grasparossa, which is the boldest, most full-bodied, and most masculine; Lambrusco Maestri, which is a bit softer; Lambrusco Salamino, which is quite aromatic but also has a higher level of tannin; and Lambrusco do Sorbara, which is the lightest, smoothest, and most delicate. 

Lambrusco Salamino Grapes (c) Consorzio Marchio Storico dei Lambruschi Modenesi

There are 5 DOCs for Lambrusco – Lambrusco di Modena, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castlevetro, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, and Reggiano. Outside of this, a significant amount of Lambrusco is bottled as Emilia IGT. Wherever it’s from, do find some of the better producers and give it a whirl.

Lambrusco is usually made as either red or rosato wine and can be secco (dry), amabile (semi-sweet), or dolce (sweet). There is also a white Lambrusco which is quite the unicorn. While most are made in the Tank Method like Prosecco, there are a some produced in the traditional Champagne Method and increasingly more in the Ancestrale Method. Remember that tasty Pet-Nat I was just talking about?

What I love about these wines is that they are unpretentious. No lengthy tasting notes need apply here. Just quaff along and enjoy them for what they are. And more than that, Lambrusco is the “wine of freedom” as my good friend and Italian wine expert Jeremy Parzen wrote.

Just try to find another wine like this, anywhere in the world! A wine that knows how to wash down antifascist tortelli and cappelletti so well. A wine that makes you want to get up from the table and sing. Just try to find one but I’ll be raising a glass of Lambrusco for you.

Jeremy Parzen of DoBianchi.com translating Anarchist Luigi Veronelli

And can’t we all appreciate freedom?

Cantina di Carpi NotteRosa Modena Brut Rosato

My chosen Lambrusco rosato was the Cantina di Carpi NotteRosa Modena Brut Rosato, which is crafted of 70% Salamino and 30% Sorbara.

Cantina di Carpi NotteRosa Modena Brut Rosato

While it doesn’t explicitly state on the label, this one appears to be from the Lambrusco di Modena DOC. The wine’s name was inspired by Italy’s Notte Bianca celebrations. Notte Bianco translates to ‘White Night’ which is an all night party that dates back to 1833 in Abruzzo. Notte Bianca features concerts, fireworks, art, street food, bars, and more that lasts all night long. Rome made the event popular in 2003 and now it’s celebrated all over Italy and Europe including Milan, Verona, Naples, Milan, Paris, Barcelona, and more. The local iteration of the event in Emilia-Romagna is called Notte Rosa where the cities are all decorated in pink. Inspired by the friendship and culture that the events promote, this fun, laid back wine was so named.

Fruity and floral notes (likely from the Salamino) are front and center on the nose with high levels of tingling acidity on the palate. Delicate, and bone dry at 11.5% alcohol and initially served chilled around 45 degrees. I can’t recall having a wine that was so dry and so high acid being so low in alcohol. Fine by me! We paired the wine with grilled shrimp burgers topped with an avocado aioli.

Cantina di Carpi NotteRosa Rosato Paired with Shrimp Burgers

The bracing acidity of the wine was a great foil for the creamy aioli. This pairing was all about summer living. And while I enjoy drinking the traditional red Lambruscos, Lambrusco rosato is just as fun and fresh.

Other Emilia-Romagna Pink Wines I Love

Another Lambrusco rosato that I absolutely love is the Lini Labrusca Rosato. I’ve had it on a few occasions and love it on its own as well as with Cajun and Creole cuisine. In fact, I love anything from Lini.

Lini Labrusca Rosato

I have never visited Italy save for a short trip to Venice, but the more I learn, the more I think Emilia-Romagna should be the first region I visit for wine. With mountains, hot springs, beaches on the Adriatic, and castles galore, there is much to see and do. And if you’re a car aficionado, as Mr. Corkscrew is, the region is home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati. I could start in Parma and work my way southeast through Modena and Bologna until I got to the Adriatic. Now if only we can get this pandemic to go away!

Be sure to check out what the other #ItalianFWT writers are tasting and pairing.

  • David from Cooking Chat writes about Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo: Pairings with My Favorite Italian Rosé
  • Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings writes about Pairing Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato with Drunken Cold Chicken Wings and Pork Knuckle, Sautéed Julienne Leeks #ItalianFWT
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla tempts us with Italian Pinks, Sardinian Native Grapes, and Gamberi all’Aglio
  • Terri from Our Good Life shares her pairing for Roasted Chicken Flatbread with Spumante Rosato
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass says Summer Won’t Last: and Neither Will this Charming Chiaretto in Your Glass
  • Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog is Dreaming of Sicily with a Graci Rosato
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator offers Summer Dinner with Rosato from Tuscany and Sicily
  • Marcia from Joy of Wine chats about Rosato d’Aglianico Vulture: More than Just a Red Wine
  • Lynn from Savor the Harvest suggests Rosato: Drinking Pink Italian Style, from the Mountains to the Sea
  • Nicole from Somm’s Table prepares Cheese, Charcuterie, and Ciabatta with Praesidium Cerasuolo
  • Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles offers Pallotte Cac e Ove & Orecchiette with Two Brilliant Cherry Red Rosatos from Southeast Italy
  • Katrina from The Corkscrew Concierge advises us to Get to Know Lambrusco Rosato
  • Susannah from Avvinare tells us that Italy’s Chiaretto from Lake Garda Makes Waves
  • Jennifer from Vino Travels shares Rosato from the Veneto with Pasqua
  • Katarina from Grapevine Adventures shares An Italian Rosé Wine that Makes You Sparkle
  • Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares Cantele Negroamaro Rosato: Summer Wine from the Heart of Puglia
    1. Parma, one of the capital cities of the region is the birthplace of parmesan cheese.
    2. The region’s town of Modena is the home of balsamic vinegar.
    3. So named after Bologna, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    18 Comments

    1. Pallotte Cac e Ove & Orecchiette with 2 Brilliant Cherry Red Rosatos from Southeast Italy #ItalianFWT | Crushed Grape Chronicles
      2 months ago

      […] Katrina from The Corkscrew Concierge advises us to Get to Know Lambrusco Rosato […]

      Reply
    2. Marcia J Hamm
      2 months ago

      I’ve never had a shrimp burger before and those look absolutely marvelous! And I love lambrusco in all of its grape forms (but especially Sorbara)! Emlia-Romagna was a highlight visit for me so when you get to Italy, yes it’s an absolute must! I even went to the Ferrari museum! It was just a great experience all around with amazing gastronomic experiences as well! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        I’m always looking for different versions of a “burger.” And so happy to hear that you’re a fan of Lambrusco!

        Reply
    3. Nicole Ruiz Hudson
      2 months ago

      I really want to go to a Notte Bianca or a Notte Rosa party now! Those shrimp burger look AMAZING. Also, Lini 910 actually makes a White Lambrusco — I used to love to have it with sushi when I could find it more easily in NYC.

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        Wow. I will have to see if I can get my hands on the Lini White Lambrusco.

        Reply
    4. Dreaming of Sicily With A Graci Rosato #ItalianFWT – ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
      2 months ago

      […] Katrina from The Corkscrew Concierge advises us to Get to Know Lambrusco Rosato […]

      Reply
    5. Lynn
      2 months ago

      It’s too bad Lambrusco isn’t more in the forefront when it comes to pink wine options. So versatile… and white?!? That’s new for me. I have dreams of visiting Eataly in Bologna.

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        Eataly would be awesome! And completely agree that there needs to be more press about pink Lambrusco.

        Reply
    6. David
      2 months ago

      I definitely need to try more Lambrusco, your post definitely reminds me of that! So much good food from the region for sure!

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        Its not mainstream for sure, but more and more people are giving it a try.

        Reply
    7. robincgc
      2 months ago

      I have so wanted to dive into some higher quality Lambrusco. Locally, it is difficult to find. I really appreciate your recommendations of producers. This family of grapes is one that I certainly need to further explore.
      Your shrimp burger sounds delicious! I am inspired to riff on that idea.
      Lastly, I always love your flowers in your photos. I have to shop today and I am inspired to pick up a bouquet for myself. Thank you so much for that inspiration!

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        Thanks Robin. Would love to see your version of a shrimp burger!

        Reply
    8. Lauren
      2 months ago

      Man, I love that you wrote about Lambrusco! It’s a wine of pure joy and summer adventure, and deserves much more respect than it usually gets. Looking forward to catching up on your previous posts on the subject and to trying out those shrimp burgers. Yum!

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        Lambrusco really is the essence of summer. Slowly, people are starting to understand it more.

        Reply
    9. Linda Whipple, CSW
      2 months ago

      Give me an unpretentious wine any old time. Haven’t been a fan of Lambrusco, but your post certainly makes the case for trying Lambrusco rosato. And those shrimp burgers… what a pairing!

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        We certainly need as little pretentiousness in wine as possible.

        Reply
    10. Katarina Andersson
      2 months ago

      Lambrusco when made well, in a more artisanal way, is indeed a fantastic wine that lightens up your day just as the people in Emilia-Romagna. I haven’t tried the first Lambrusco here, but Lini I know well.

      Reply
      1. Kat
        2 months ago

        Well said. And Lini seems to be a hit with many people.

        Reply

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