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5 Things I Learned about Lambrusco and the Best Food Pairings #ItalianFWT

 Welcome to the June edition of #ItalianFWT (FoodWineTravel), where I will share what I have learned about Lambrusco and the food pairings that are best with this wine.  When I think of Lambrusco, I think most of a sweet bubbly that I loved as a young adult. I have outgrown those sweet bubbly wines, though.  Boy, was I ever wrong about that!  Let's get started on my recent path to a more enlightened mindset with Lambrusco.

My group will be posting many good articles about Lambrusco and you can see them all here. Be sure to go and check them out, these people are very good with their wines. 

  • Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares "Cantina Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara 2018 for #WorldLambruscoDay"
  • Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm posts "A Dry Lambrusco?! Well, yes please"
  • Nicole Ruiz Hudson from Somms Table adds "The Lighter Side of Lambrusco"
  • Pinny Tam from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings brings "A Dry Lambrusco from Riunite with One-Person Shabu-shabu Dinner"
  • Jeff Burrows from Food Wine Click! writes "Classic Aperitivo from Emilia-Romagna"
  • Lynn Gowdy from Savor the Harvest says "Time for Lambrusco"
  • Robin Bell Renken from Crushed Grape Chronicles pens "Banish me to Mantua, with a glass of Lambrusco Mantovano"
  • Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley from Wine Predator suggests "Celebrate Summer with a Dry RED Sparkling Wine: Lambrusco to the Rescue!"
  • Deanna Kang from Asian Test Kitchen showcases, "A Gluten-Free Brunch Paired with Lini Labrusca Wines"
  • Terri Oliver Steffes from Our Good Life joins with "5 Things I Learned about Lambrusco and the Best Food Pairings"
  • Host Susannah at Avvinare will showcase "Versatile Lambrusco, A Wine For Every Mood"

1.  Let's start with the fact that Lambrusco is no longer just a sweet bubbly.  This is a family of grapes, with all different styles made from it. If you find a bottle you didn't like, keep looking.  Lambruscos also comes in dry (secco) and barely sweet (semisecco.)  If you like them dry, look for these labels.

2.  Lambrusco is meant to be served with food.  This isn't sipping on the front porch wine.  This is a wine served with food, and I am going to share the best Lambrusco to eat with your favorite foods.

3.  Lambrusco is made in Emilia-Romagna.  Why is this important?  Because this is where Modena balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and parmesan-Reggiano cheese are made. The secco and semisecco Lambrusco wines with a nice acidity are a perfect match to these local specialties.  In other words, serve a secco Lambrusco with a charcuterie board and watch what happens!

4.  Lambrusco is an affordable wine, making it perfect for daily drinking.  Serve up with some salami as an afternoon snack, or with pizza anytime!. 

5.  Lambrusco is one of the oldest wines in Italy, with farming notes back to the Bronze Age. That's some old vines!  There are 60 varieties of Lambrusco, with five being regulated by the DOC:

  • Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro: Produced in the province of Modena, the resulting wine is more like a proper red wine with a lively sparkle, pronounced fruity bouquet, and considerable tannic structure.
  • Lambrusco di Sorbara: A wine produced in the province of Modena, light ruby red with crisp fruitiness, bright acidity that also carries through on the palate.
  • Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce: Often blended with other wines, Salamino is frequently used to make off-dry and sweet wines. When grown in the clay and rock soils of Reggio-Emilia and used to make dry wine, it produces vibrant wines with balanced acidity.
  • Lambrusco Reggiano: This sparkling red can be made from a mixture of different lambrusco grapes. Because the mixtures and winemaking process can vary so greatly, the tasting notes of Reggiano lambruscos can also vary widely.
  • Lambrusco Mantovano: The only DOC-designated lambrusco made outside of the Emilia-Romagna region, Montovano is grown in Lombardy. The specific characteristics of the wine vary depending on the blend and maker.
I am so lucky to live nearby an Italian neighborhood called "The Hill" in St. Louis.  We have a wonderful Italian grocery store that sells the most wonderful goods and I just love going there!  I found my bottle of Lambrusco in this store and let me tell you it was absolutely wonderful.

The wine is divine, with thick, creamy foam and a fully bubbly body. It has a deep rose color, with a nose of strawberry and brushwood. On the tongue, it is fresh, mineral, velvety, and enticing.  Oh so good with the pasta dish we made.

We made this pork ragu with some Missouri-style pork chops and barbeque sauce that was so amazing. We topped orecchiette pasta with the meat and the sauce it made and with this sparkling wine, was amazing. I cannot wait until we make it again.

Yield: 4
Author: Terri Steffes
Orecchiette with Ragu of Pork

Orecchiette with Ragu of Pork

A delicious dish
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 6 HourTotal time: 6 H & 10 M


  • 2 pounds pork steaks
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c barbeque sauce
  • 8 ounces of orecchiette pasta 
  • 1/2 c parmesan


  1. Brush pork steaks with olive oil and sprinkle heavily with smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
  2. Place in slow cooker.  Place onions on top.
  3. Pour barbeque sauce on top.
  4. Cook for six hours on low.
  5. Remove bones and break up the meat.
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  7. Divide pasta into four dishes and top with pork and sauce.
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan.


Replace barbeque sauce with your favorite tomato sauce if desired.

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh my! That dish looks amazing! I can't wait to try your recipe. I am so envious that you can find such delicious Lambrusco nearby. Sadly I must order from out of state if I want more than a bottle shelf bottle.

  2. Wow, 60 is a lot of options. It's good to know what ones go well with certain foods. It makes the food and drink taste better.

  3. This was a really interesting read. I think I need to try some of that Lambrusco.

  4. This sounds like a good drink. I will have to try it soon

  5. One day I hope to learn about pairings. Right now I'm clueless.

  6. That sounds fantastic! I, too, learned so much about Lambrusco for this month's event. So much to know.

  7. Richelle Escat3:23 AM

    Thanks for recommending, Lambrusco seems like a wine that I would regret not trying.

  8. Your ragu sounds great and I love your pairing tips. The first time we focused on Lambrusco I paired it with an appetizer that used balsamic in the recipe. It was a great pairing.

  9. Terri - that dish looks delicious and I am so glad you found that bottle in that lovely store you describe in your neighborhood. I can't wait to try your recipe. Thanks for joining this month and for the clear notes about what you learned about Lambrusco. Cheers to you, Susannah

  10. This sounds really good. I'd love to try it sometime. I would also love to try out the recipe. That looks delicious too.

  11. I love the idea of food pairings. I love the drinks but most especially the delicious recipe that you shared.

  12. Wow! This definitely a great pair, they blend with other perfectly. The food looks so delicious and very enticing while the drinks looks refreshing and very tempting.

  13. Oh wow, my mouth is watering, I’ll have to add this to this weeks meal plan - yum!

  14. I love Lambrusco so much. It's good with everything but I love it with pasta dishes.

  15. I haven't heard of Lambrusco wine before. I'm going to have to give it a try soon.

  16. I'm so glad you highlighted Cleto Chiarli. We get their wines in Minnesota and I have been very impressed with them.

  17. I'm a novice wine drinker, limited mostly to sweet wines on the porch. So I'm glad to learn more about wine in general and specifically pairing it with food.

  18. Cleto Chiarli is one producer I can easily find and very respectable. Your amazing ragu is too! I usually use ground pork yet see you use steak. A bit leaner depending on the cut, I've got to try that.


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