Tenuta Pederzana produces a very unique and special varietal known as Grasparossa, from which Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC is made. A winery with a long history of winemaking, Tenuta Pederzana was founded by Franco Simonini, a passionate and enlightened winemaker from Castelvetro.
Following WWII, Franco Simonini and his wife Margherita collaborated with the University of Bologna to identify the best clones of the noble variety prevalent in the area, Grasparossa di Castelvetro. After much experimentation, he succeeded in isolating a clone of Grasparossa which, years later, his nephew Francesco Gibellini, who now runs the company with his uncle Massimo, discovered to be unique among the range of clones registered with the Experimental Institute for Viticulture.
Growing from an estate of only 2.5 acres, to the 35 acre estate that it is today, Pederzana remains focused on preserving its ancient strain of Grasparossa grafted onto Golia rootstock in Guyot-trained vineyards. The vineyards have the ideal conditions for cultivating Grasparossa with rich aromas and excellent polyphenol levels. Today, Tenuta Pederzana is a modern company of traditions that are perfectly integrated in the territory. The rest of the story is to be discovered in every bottle.
Francesco Gibellini, owner and winemaker at Tenuta Pederzana shares insight into Lambrusco wines.
What are a few key things about Lambrusco that everybody should know?
1. Lambrusco is a “popular” wine – it was always meant to be a “universal” wine – for everybody.
2. It’s the most “versatile” wine you can find anywhere in the world; it can be paired with almost any dish. You can enjoy a glass of Lambrusco while having a pizza, steak or with any kind of pasta or lasagna. Massimo Bottura suggested also to pair it with Risotto Cacio e pepe or even with shrimp, mussels and oysters. It suites most palates!
3. It’s the only REAL and AUTHENTIC Italian indigenous grape varietal! Almost all the 500 indigenous grapes of Italy actually originated in the area of Armenia and Georgia. Lambrusco, instead, is a cross between Vitis Vinifera and Vitis Labrusca (sylvestris) which originated in Italy more than 2,000 years ago. The Roman poet Virgilio talks in his poems about Lambrusco and how it’s the oldest grape varietal you can find in ancient Roman history. There are examples and mentions of it in the roman literature of Catone (“De agri cultura”) and Plinio the Old (“Naturalis Historia”).
What are some of your favorite pairings with Lambrusco?
My favorite pairing, comes from Emilia-Romagna – the region where this grape gives the best results – Gnocco Fritto and Tortellini in brodo – Translated would be “Fried Dumpling” and “Tortellini and Broth”. This is a typical dish from the old tradition of Emilia Romagna- the unique story behind this dish is that some ancients say that it was created after the wine so it is a sort of pairing “au contraire” – the food has been created to be paired with the wine, and not the other way around.
How can you pick a good bottle of Lambrusco? What should you look for?
There are many characteristics that people should look for when they pick a Lambrusco. First of all there are several areas and types of Lambrusco to consider. The most known are:
Lambrusco di Sorbara: Usually located on the North side of the province of Modena. The soil is fertile – which means a lot of production. The soil is simple, no complexity. The wine usually has no tannins and high acidity. Easy drinking!
Lambrusco Grasparossa: Located South of Modena in the hills – which is the best terrain and altitude for this varietal. Soil is complex and very hard. The wines are of limited production and high quality. Less acidity, more tannins than the other lambruscos yet the wines have more balance between acidity, sugar and sapidity.
Lambrusco Salamino/Santacroce: Located in the center of the province of Modena. Few producers are doing this wine. (8-9 wineries). Grapes are cultivated mainly in flatlands so that you have a table wine – very enjoyable and fruity with less structure and texture.
Tenuta Pederzana has been selected for the third year in a row to be part of Opera Wine – Finest Italian Wines, among Italy’s 100 greatest producers according to Wine Spectator. Below are my tasting notes of the Tenuta Pederzana Gibe Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC.
At first glance you see the carbonation. There is a ruby-red hue with an intensely aromatic nose of fresh red fruits, plum, cherry, and raspberry. Upon first taste you get wonderful freshness from the acidity, that is well-balanced with the fruit. The same fruits on the nose expresses itself on the palate. The wine leaves you wanting for more. Serve slightly chilled. Perfect with pizza and pastas.