Lambrusco salamino is so named because the long, cylindrical clusters look like small salamis.
Emilia-Romagna, where Lambrusco originated, is Italy’s ultimate food region—the land that gives the world such serious delicacies as Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, and prosciutto di Parma. Not surprisingly, the area’s trademark lambrusco wine tastes quite good with the region’s hearty sausages, cured meats, and rich, meat-sauced pastas. Moreover, locals insist that the light, fizzy, slightly bitter, fairly high-acid wine is the perfect aid to digestion. Lambrusco wines are made from at least thirteen different varieties with the word lambrusco (which means “wild grape” in Italian) in their name. Sadly, the only lambrusco most wine drinkers know is the highly commercial, slightly sweet stuff popularized in America by the giant Riunite Co-op in 1967. (It was America’s number-one selling imported wine brand from 1976-2002). However, the top versions of lambrusco, which use the traditional (Champagne) method of second fermentation in each bottle, are not sweet, but rather, dry and savory. Until recently, the zesty, artisanal lambruscos that any wine lover would prefer were available only in Emilia itself. But today, a number of fantastic small-production versions are easy to find, including Cleto Chiarli, Fattoria Moretto, Fiorini, Francesco Vezzelli, Lini, and Tenuta Pederzana.