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the 12 days of fizzmas: lambrusco from italy on day 11

We’re nearing the end of Fizzmas! Today brings a really good one for the season.

Lambrusco is like the Rudolph’s nose of sparkling wine: red and under-appreciated. It’s both the name of the grape and therefore the wine made from it, made in four areas in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy. The wines are mostly frizzante – lightly fizzy as opposed to fully fizzy (which Italians would call spumante). So it’s less sparkling than Champagne, and also not made in the Champagne method. Instead, it’s made in the Charmat method where the second fermentation happens in a pressurized tank. Some Lambrusco’s can be sweet, but the sweet ones I’ve had have actually been kind of crappy and my favorites are the dry ones.

There are five varieties of the Lambrusco grape, though the Lambrusco di Sorbara one is generally thought of as the highest quality one and makes a ruby-colored, more full-bodied wine. I recently had two I loved – both excellent with charcuterie, and festively colored for the season!

Cleto Chiarli is in the Emilia-Romagna region, and the oldest winery to make Lambrusco there. The 2011 “Premium Vecchia Modena” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC ($15) had lots of strawberry, cranberry, and slatey minerality.

Cleto Chiarli is in the Emilia-Romagna region, and the oldest winery to make Lambrusco there. The 2011 “Premium Vecchia Modena” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC ($15) had lots of strawberry, cranberry, and slatey minerality. Delicious!

2011 Cavicchioli Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC 'Vigna del Cristo' ($13) was darker, like a savory, dried black cherry.

2011 Cavicchioli Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC ‘Vigna del Cristo’ ($13), also from Emilia-Romagna, was like a savory, dried black cherry. Everyone raved.

Click on Fizzmas to see all the fizz and fun in these 12 days! And let me know what your favorite bubbly is below.

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