LAMBRUSCO DI SORBARA, red wine grape, the oldest member of the Lambrusco family. Like all the Lambruscos it is mainly found in the Emilia portion of Emilia-Romagna, its stamping ground being Modena province. The variety is also known as Lambrusco della Viola or ‘violet Lambrusco’ for the aromas of violets the best examples show.

In the vineyard | Sorbara’s flower is hermaphrodite (as in all cultivated varieties) but it behaves physiologically like a wild grape vine (Vitis vinifera silvestris), being physiologically like a female organ. This means that in order to ripen Lambrusco di Sorbara needs a pollinator, and must be cultivated together with another Lambrusco variety, usually Salamino. It is common to find clusters of Lambrusco di Sorbara with both ripe red and unripe green berries due to ‘millerandage‘ or irregular fruit set that causes berries to be non-uniform in size and maturity (asynchronous maturation).

Soil | Sorbara prefers sandy soils (D’Agata, 2014, p68-9). 

Ripening | Sorbara ripens earlier than most Lambruscos (D’Agata, 2014, p68-69).

Wine style | Sorbara produces the lightest and most fragrant of the Lambrusco varieties (Ian D’Agata, 2014, p68). High acidity, light bodied. ‘The pale coral-shade Lambrusco di Sorbara has a delicate red fruit and floral character, and intense tangy quality,’ says Richard Baudains (2011). Typical flavours: cranberry, strawberry, redcurrant. 

Wines | Alto Mincio IGP. | Emilia or dell’Emilia IGP. | Forlì IGT. | Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC (Emilia-Romagna). | Modena DOC (Emilia-Romagna). | Quistello IGT. | Reggiano DOC (Emilia-Romagna). | Rubicone IGT. | Sabbioneta IGT.

National Registry code number | 115.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ian D’Agata, Native wine grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014), p68-9

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p49-50.

Richard Baudains, ‘Lambrusco’s return,’ Decanter Italy 2011 supplement, p36.