Lambrusco grapes have been cultivated in the Emilia region of Italy for thousands of years, and are one of the most ancient grape varietals on earth. In more recent decades, they have been grown successfully in both Australia and Argentina, where they are also used to make the recognizable, slightly sweet sparkling wines they are most commonly associated with. Lambrusco has six main varietals - Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Monterrico, Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Sorbara. However, Lambrusco Salamino is by far the most commonly cultivated, as it is a hardy grape which results in high yields of consistent and reliable quality. Lambrusco is quite a versatile grape, and in Italy, is used to make several different wines. Often, winemakers limit the contact the juices have with the skins in order to make both white and rosÃ© wines from this grape, all of which are highly popular around the world.
All over the stunning region of Tuscany in central Italy, you'll see rolling hills covered in green, healthy grapevines. This region is currently Italy's third largest producer of wines, but interestingly wineries here are generally happy with lower yields holding higher quality grapes, believing that they have a responsibility to uphold the excellent reputation of Tuscany, rather than let it slip into 'quantity over quality' wine-making as it did in the mid twentieth century. The region has a difficult soil type to work with, but the excellent climate and generations of expertise more than make up for this problem. Most commonly, Tuscan vintners grow Sangiovese and Vernaccia varietal grapes, although more and more varietals are being planted nowadays in order to produce other high quality wine styles.
There are few countries in the world with a viticultural history as long or as illustrious as that claimed by Italy. Grapes were first being grown and cultivated on Italian soil several thousand years ago by the Greeks and the Pheonicians, who named Italy 'Oenotria' â€“ the land of wines â€“ so impressed were they with the climate and the suitability of the soil for wine production. Of course, it was the rise of the Roman Empire which had the most lasting influence on wine production in Italy, and their influence can still be felt today, as much of the riches of the empire came about through their enthusiasm for producing wines and exporting it to neighbouring countries. Since those times, a vast amount of Italian land has remained primarily for vine cultivation, and thousands of wineries can be found throughout the entire length and breadth of this beautiful country, drenched in Mediterranean sunshine and benefiting from the excellent fertile soils found there. Italy remains very much a 'land of wines', and one could not imagine this country, its landscape and culture, without it.