The official start of summer was June 21, but we've been celebrating with rosé since the very first hint of spring. Now that the days are slowly getting shorter again, however, we're starting to wonder — is there something more than pink wine for this time of year?
It's not that we'll ever quit rosé, of course, but sometimes, it's good to have alternatives. And if you, too, are hunting for a crisp, refreshing option to spice things up, we'd like to suggest Lambrusco. A sparkling wine that is typically red but can also be rosé and even white, it hails from Northern Italy and is another perfect easy-drinking, effervescent wine for hot summer days.
To find out more about Lambrusco, we chatted with winemaker Alicia Lini. To say that wine is in her blood might be an understatement. Her family has been making Lini 910 , a Lambrusco hailing from Emilia-Romagna, for over 100 years. Lini explains that what makes Lambrusco Lambrusco is simple — it's all about the grape. Lambrusco wine is made from the Lambrusco grape. The name isn't regionally protected, like Champagne or Merlot, though the grape is native to the Emilia-Romagna region.
All Lambruscos are meant to be served chilled, no matter the color, which is another reason it's a summer pick. It's especially great for red wine drinkers who may be reluctant to switch to lighter-colored wines in the summer. Just how cold is up to you — most experts recommend chilled wines around 49-55 degrees F, which is warmer than a home fridge — but Lini says she likes to enjoy hers "very cold," especially during the summer.
Similar to rosé, Lambrusco is also considered an easy-drinking wine that pairs well with a number of foods. In fact, Lini says that the origin of Lambrusco may have something to do with the richness of other foods from the area, like Parmesan and balsamic vinegar. "Many people in that region traditionally enjoy Lambrusco as a nice, light, sparkling wine that will counterbalance the richness of these foods when paired together," she says. That doesn't mean Lambrusco can only be paired with Italian foods. One of her favorite pairings is with sashimi.
Further cementing Lambruco's reputation as an easy-drinking, everyday wine, it is traditionally drunk out of regular glasses. Your favorite tumblers, Mason jars, or stemless wine glasses are perfect for pouring a cup, though you can also pour it in a flute or wine glass if you want. So whether you're toasting a special occasion this summer or sipping out of a plastic cup at a picnic, Lambrusco is a great accompaniment. We'll definitely drink to that.