Italy Emilia-Romagna Lambrusco
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' – the land of wines – 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.
Emilia-Romagna is one of Italy's best loved wine regions, and this northern region of one of the world's great wine countries has been associated with fine wine making and superb viticulture for an astonishing length of time. Indeed, wine has most probably been made in Emilia-Romagna for almost three thousand years, and as one might imagine, such an ancient and respected wine region remains today deeply traditional and proud, with wineries determined to protect the region's status and reputation as a region of quality and distinction. With twenty-two DOC's, and two DOCG's, Emilia-Romagna is very much a home of quality wines, and there is a fairly even percentage of red wine and white wine grapes being grown in the region's expansive and beautiful vineyards.
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.