PSA: Lambrusco Is Having A Serious Comeback

When you hear ‘Lambrusco’ you might not automatically think ‘delicious – I’ll have a glass of that.’ In fact, many wine drinkers might think the opposite, as up until recently the Lambrusco you’d find on the shelves of your local Tesco would’ve been sweet, frothy and more reminiscent of something that comes in a plastic bottle than a glass one.

However, the fizzy red wine is having a renaissance. The summer of ’22 saw a boom in people quaffing glasses of chilled red wine, with glasses of the refreshing stuff popping up on bar menus and in Google searches - an increase of over 50%, in fact.


Drinks experts at Bibendum have even labelled Lambrusco as one of the top trendiest drinks of 2023, suggesting Millennials and Gen Z are embracing the previously uncool wine. The best bit? Lambrusco is cheap as chips compared to Champers or fancy Prosecco, so your bank balance will thank you for hopping on the trend. With Prosecco’s popularity *totally over* perhaps chilled red bubbles really are the next big thing.

So, what actually is Lambrusco?

Lambrusco is a lightly sparkling red wine (frizzante is the techy term – we’re talking fizzy, but not as bubbly as Prosecco) made from the Italian Lambrusco grape. The grapes are grown in the Emilia-Romagna region in the north of Italy, and it’s said to be one of the oldest wines in Italy with vines dating back to the bronze age (blimey). It’s typically light and fresh owing to its low alcohol content – good news for those cutting back on the booze.

What does Lambrusco taste like?

Lambrusco is a fruit-forward wine, which means the main flavours you’ll find are fruity ones like berries. In terms of smell, you might get a whiff of raisins, almonds, or ripe fruit. It’s also usually light-bodied and high in fresh acidity, so it’s super easy to drink and pairs well with loads of different foods. It can range from dry (secco) to semi-sweet (semisecco) and sweet (dulce). The better-quality bottles are usually dry, but you can still find a few bottles of the sweet stuff knocking around on the bottom shelf of your local supermarket.


What are the different types of Lambrusco?

There are over 60 Lambrusco grape varieties and they can technically be grown all over Italy, but these are the best-known three grown in official DOCs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) in Emilia-Romagna.

  • Lambrusco di Sorbara: Produced in sandy soil in Modena (where stylish locals drink the fizzy red in trattorias), this type is closer to a dark rosé wine and is usually light red in colour with crisp fruitiness and bright acidity.

  • Lambrusco Salamino: Grown in clay and rocky soils, Salamino is deeper in colour than Sorbara and more fragrant than its fresh younger sibling, but still fruity with some acidity.

  • Lambrusco di Grasparossa: Cultivated on steep hillsides, this is the most full-bodied Lambrusco and is closer to your standard red wine with flavours of darker fruits like cherries, but still with the wine’s signature bubbles.

How do you serve Lambrusco?

Like your favourite glass of rosé (or light-bodied red wine, if you’re trendy) Lambrusco should be served chilled, and preferably in a white wine glass or tumbler. It’s made to be drunk young and fresh, so it’s not one for saving for a special occasion - crack open the bottle ASAP once you’ve bought it.

charcuterie wreath
Hannah Hall

What’s good to eat with Lambrusco?

Lambrusco is a host’s godsend – it goes well with pretty much everything. However, there are a few pairings that would be extra-special with the red bubbles. Salty cheeses, cured meats and briny olives, especially those from the north of Italy, would really make the lighter Lambrusco wines sing, and a hearty pasta dish or grilled meat wouldn’t go amiss with the more full-bodied varieties. If you do reach for a sweet Lambrusco, give it a go with a fruity dessert like a cherry pie. Basically – anything goes.

Where to buy Lambrusco

The nicer bottles of red bubbly haven’t quite hit bog-standard supermarket shelves yet, but most well-stocked wine shops like Majestic should have some easy-drinking Lambrusco’s ready to pick up and enjoy with a nibble or two.