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World Lambrusco Day highlights ‘world class bubbly’ from Emilia-Romagna

Last month (21 June) saw the debut of World Lambrusco Day at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a celebration of the famous red bubbles from Emilia-Romagna that aims to demonstrate the versatility and international appeal of the wines. Filippo Bartolotta reports.

The event, which was organised by Consorzio Tutela Lambrusco, was held on 21 June at the Gustave Eiffel Lounge on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, with journalists from all over the world taking part – including The Drinks Business. The tasting was followed by dinner in the Le Jules Verne restaurant on the second floor.

Feedback from the event was very positive, confirming the international appeal of a wine that has one name but many different faces. One of the highlights was a special tasting led by Italy’s only Master of Wine, Gabriele Gorelli, who presented 14 Lambrusco DOC that showed the huge versatility of this wine as well as the different winemaking techniques across the three main varieties: the bright and zesty Sorbara, the floral and blue driven fruit Salamino and the saturated and structured Grasparossa.

As a gesture of convivial friendship with its host country, the Consorzio invited a couple of Champagne producers -the Maison Pierre Legras and Jacquesson for the end of the tasting. Although I wasn’t sure about this idea at first – I thought this was meant to be just a “Lambrusco moment”  – after sharing a couple of glasses with Vincent Legras and Benjamin Vitrac of Jaquesson I realized how wonderful the wine world can be. I felt a sense of community which goes beyond the natural competition which of course has to be there behind the scenes.

And with this healthy competition in mind, I had some fun with a compare and contrast Italy versus France, pairing the two wonderful Champagnes with a glass of Lambrusco di Sorbara Metodo Classico Puro 2013, Bellei. I have actually been enjoying this wine for some times now, but make no mistake: this traditional method Sorbara isn’t just a great Lambrusco, it’s a world class bubbly.

The white vinification of Sorbara from the splendid 2013 vintage and regorged in 2021, it is a complex sparkling wine with so much acidity and tension (2.68 pH 7.9 grams of acidity!) that I like to describe these Sorbara like Japanese Katana swords. But it is always counterbalanced by an extraordinary creaminess. The wine is a celebration of all citrus fruit, mountain herbs and a salty balsamic finish.

Was there a winner among them? Well I guess you know which one!

Later in the evening, right when the sun was setting over the French capital, we were escorted on the top floor of the Eiffel tower to Le Jules Verne restaurant. The setting was stunning and the goal to show the Lambrusco capacity to accompany a great variety of dishes became apparent during the dinner, with creations by four international chefs: Frédéric Anton, Philip Rachinger, and the Japanese-Argentinian duo of Chiho Kanzaki and Marcelo di Giacomo.

There was also a chance to sample other traditional products from Modena and Reggio Emilia – a Parmigiano Reggiano was opened for us, under the direction of master taster Simone Ficarelli, and we were also able to sample Parmigiano Reggiano at three different stages of maturity – 24, 48 and 101 months – and to taste another local speciality, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO).

Claudio Biondi, President of Consorzio Tutela Lambrusco said he was delighted with this first edition of World Lambrusco Day, noting that the journalists and international guests were both “curious and engaged” with a wine that is becoming increasingly popular abroad.

“It is important to highlight the sheer versatility of this wine in its different variations,” he added.

The event will take place every three years in a different foreign capital each time and Biondi confirmed that because the United States is one of the wine region’s most important markets, the second edition of the event will be held in New York in 2026.

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