In the province of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy in Italy, one of the most commonly cultivated grape varietals is the Lambrusco. This grape is most commonly associated with sparkling, strawberry flavored red wine, although vintners have often produced both white and rosÃ© variations on the classic fizzy wine, all of which have been consistently popular over the past century. Lambrusco is a grape varietal with an impressive history, and archaeological findings have presented the notion that they were cultivated even long before the Romans in Italy, by the ancient Etruscan civilization, making them one of the oldest used wine varietals on earth. Today, they are also grown in both Australia and Argentina, where they are also commonly used for sparkling wine of excellent flavor and character.
The northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna has long been a much loved wine region, associated with many of the finest Italian wines drank across the world today. Interestingly, the region's fine reputation is nothing new, as it was considered an extremely important center for wine making and viticulture over two thousand years ago by the Romans, and also by those who came before them. Today, the mineral rich soils and warm climate of the region provide excellent conditions for cultivating vines of exceedingly high quality, and a wide range of grape varietals are grown on Emilia-Romagna's fifty five thousand hectares under vine. By far the most prominent in the region are Lambrusco varietal grapes, used to make the region's flagship sparkling wines, and Malvasia.
For several decades in the mid to late twentieth century, Italy's reputation for quality wines took a fairly serious blow. This was brought about partly due to lack of regulation in certain regions, and too much regulation in others. This led to several wineries in the beautiful and highly fertile region of Tuscany making the bold move to work outside of the law, which they saw as responsible for the drop in quality in Tuscan wines. They believed that they had the expertise and the generations of experience necessary with which to make truly excellent, world class wines, and set about doing just that. These 'Super Tuscans', as they came to be known, quickly inspired the rest of Italy to improve their produce, and now, Italian wine producers in the twenty-first century are widely recognised to be amongst the best in the world. Regulation and law began to change, and wine drinkers across the globe woke up to the outstanding wines coming out of Italy, which are continuing to improve and impress to this day.