Lambrusco has a long and impressive history, with plenty of archaeological evidence suggesting that the ancient Etruscans were cultivating this varietal long before it was popular with the Romans. There are six main types of Lambrusco grapes, which are Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Monterrico, Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Sorbara. All are unique and widely grown, none are clones, and all are indigenous to the Emilia region of Italy. Today, the Lambrusco vine is almost solely cultivated in the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, with a few vineyards in the New World using these ancient grapes to fantastic effect. Lambrusco grapes are most commonly associated with the sparkling wines they are often made into, which often undergo a fermentation designed to bring out some sweetness, and the natural flavor of strawberries which makes them so popular.
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.