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Lambrusco Grasparossa is also called Lambrusco di Castelvetro, or Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, since its birthplace is the town of the same name near Modena in Emilia-Romagna.

The latter is also the name of the DOC wine made with this variety. DOC laws state that Lambrusco di Grasparossa wines can be only 85 % Grasparossa, but there are many great monovarietal versions; other DOC wines are Colli di Scandiano e Canossa and Modena. It also grows in the countryside around the towns of Casalgrande, Quattro Castelle, and Scandiano near Reggio Emilia. Recent DNA results have shown it to be identical to the Scorzamara variety, so we now know this Lambrusco also grows around Coviolo (1).

There are currently over 1,550 hectares of Grasparossa planted, and it is considered by many in Italy to be the highest-quality Lambrusco due to its ability to reach optimal ripeness, even at cooler temperatures. Grasparossa is the only Lambrusco that grows mainly on hillsides rather than the plains of Emilia. Grasparossa is versatile in regards to the kind of soil it may be planted in, although it probably grows best in clay (1).

Areas where Lambrusco Grasparossa is produced

The Lambrusco Grasparossa, Sorbara, and Salamino tend to be dry or off-dry wines with a pronounced acidity, which, together with its bubbles, are reputed to assist the digestion of Emilia's hearty cuisine.

The Lambrusco Grapsarossa di Castelvetro production zone is located in the provinces of Modena, mainly, and Mantova, and can be essentially divided into the high hills and the lower hillside vineyards. The former are characterized by sandy-clay marl or clay-calcarous soils that are hard to till and don't offer great water drainage.

The wine made from grapes grown here are particularly intense and concentrated. The latter are mainly sandy-loam soils with a noteworthy gravel content, allowing for better water drainage. Their wines are actually very similar to those made on the higher slopes, but are perhaps a little more graceful and lighter-bodied. It has a very deep purple-ruby hue that is much darker than the medium-pale red of wines made with Lambrusco di Sorbara. It is also more tannic than other Lambrusco's. Lambrusco Grasparossa produces bigger, creamier and fuller-bodied wines than any other member of the family, redolent of ripe black cherry and dark plum aromas and flavors (1).

Most Lambrusco made today is a fairly anonymous, standardized product made in industrial quantities by co-operatives or large commercial wineries using Charmat method. 'Proper' Lambrusco, whose secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, has become something of a relic of the past, although occasional artisan Lambruscos of this type can be found in the production zones themselves. The distinctive qualities of the different clones and different zones have tended to disappear with large quantities and industrial techniques but, in theory, Lambrusco Grapsarossa is the fullest and most alcoholic (3).

(1.) D'Agata, Ian. "Native Wine Grapes of Italy
(2). Robinson, Janice. "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition

A glass of Lambrusco Grasparossa

Some typical aromas: violets, dark berries, red cherries and almonds

n the old town of Castelvetro di Modena it is located the headquarters of the Regional Modena Emilia - Romagna , with a selection of more than 200 Emilia - Romagna labels and a special section dedicated to Lambrusco Grasparossa Castelvetro PDO and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Modena DOP .