Above: Alicia Lini shows off a classic method wine as it ages in bottle.

Despite the fact that we are living during a global wine renaissance, when there is more information about wine and winemaking available to consumers and professionals than ever before, there is still a lot of confusion regarding sparkling wine production.

Part of our mission here at the Lini Lambrusco USA blog is to help fans of our wines navigate the often complicated landscape of sparkling wine across the world.

So let’s begin with some basics.

Nearly all sparkling wine is made by fermenting the wine twice, the second time in a pressurized environment. CO2 is a natural byproduct of fermentation. And so when you ferment wine in a pressurized environment, the CO2 is captured and it gives the wines their bubbles.

There are two primary methods employed by sparkling winemakers.

tank method

The tank method is often called the Charmat method by English speakers (the name comes from the Frenchman, Eugène Charmat, who patented a new model of pressurized stainless steel vat for the production of sparkling wine in 1907). In Italy, it is also called the Martinotti method after the Italian professor who perfected it in the 20th century.

A still wine is produced, called the “base” wine. It is then re-fermented in pressurized, temperature-controlled vats.

classic method

The classic method is also known as the traditional method. It’s exactly the same as the Champagne method. But in accordance with European law, “Champagne method” can only be used in Champagne, France where the eponymous wines are produced.

A still wine is produced (the base wine). The wine is then re-fermented in bottles.

There’s a lot more to both methods. But this is a great place to start.

Lini makes both tank method and classic method Lambrusco. And it also produces classic method Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

From the department of “just in case you were wondering”…

We know that the Romans used the word Lambrusco.

In ancient Latin, it appears as lambruscum or labrusca. It denoted “wild grape varieties” and can be found in the works of writers like Pliny and Columella.

But the earliest known mention in the Italian language dates back to the early 14th century when Bolognese jurist and agriculturalist writer Pietro de’ Crescenzi used it to refer to the specific grape variety. At least so it is believed (according to top Italian lexicographers).

Images via the Wikipedia entry for Pietro de’ Crescenzi.

Another Lambrusco rosato that I absolutely love is the Lini Labrusca Rosato,” wrote top wine blogger Katrina René on her popular site Corkscrew Concierge last week.

“I’ve had it on a few occasions and love it on its own as well as with Cajun and Creole cuisine. In fact, I love anything from Lini.”

Check out her wonderful post on Italian rosé here.

Thank you, Kat! You rock!

We were so thrilled to see this Instagram post and tasting note from Alessandra Esteves, Master of Wine candidate and founder of the Florida Wine Academy: “Lambrusco Rosé: dry, tart and delicious, with delicate bubbles. Lini 910 Labrusca was perfect with Sunday pizza.”

Thank you, Alessandra! That means so much coming from you! We can wait to meet and taste with you one of these days. And we’re looking forward to next year’s VinoSummit!

That’s “Shanghai Noodle Surf + Turf” at Meyers & Chang in Boston above: “Soy marinated beef + shrimp, bell peppers + bean sprouts come together in a zingy black pepper sauce in the wok with wheat noodles. Brightened up with a little peanut + lime” (via the restaurant’s Instagram).

Hungry yet?

They only have a handful of wines on their list. But man, it’s such a great wine program!

Here’s their tasting note for the Lini Lambrsuco Labrusca Rosato: “Sparkling rosé – sour cherries, strawberry jam. Dry – friendly with all sorts of food!”

Right now we are DREAMING of pairing the Labrusca with that dish. But alas, they don’t deliver to Emilia!

It’s on our list for when we can get back to America!

“Never one to follow trends,” writes leading wine writer and educator Wanda Mann (above), author of the popular Wine With Wanda blog, “Lini makes their traditional dry style of Lambrusco the same way they always have, including the use of hand riddling, to create wines that are fresh and food-friendly with brilliant fruit flavors.”

Wanda recently featured an interview with Alicia on her Instagram: Check it out here.

Wanda is one of the wine world’s rising stars and leading voices and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she took time out to connect with Alicia and taste a few wines together. See the post for her tasting notes and the interview.

Thank you, Wanda! You are awesome!

Image via Wanda’s Facebook.

A lot of our friends in America find it hard to believe when we tell them that in Italy, the classic pairing for pizza isn’t wine but beer.

The other thing that Italians like to pair with pizza is Coca Cola. Yes, Coke.

Part of the reason that beer and Coke top the list is because Italians like to drink something sparkling with pizza. Part of the reasoning behind this is that because pizza is dairy heavy, a sparkling beverage helps to balance the richness of the dish.

But there are other reasons as well.

Pizza is a dish served piping hot. So it’s not an ideal match for a still wine — red or white. Because of its serving temperature, a chilled beverage (again, ideally sparkling) works great.

Pizza is also a dish that has a lot of acidity in it. Between the mozzarella and the tomato, its tart character is pronounced. That also makes it a not ideal candidate for still wine because the acidity can be outpaced by the acidity in the dish.

And it’s for all the reasons above that Lambrusco works so great with pizza, even an intensely salty pizza like a napoletana with anchovies and capers (above).

Lambrusco is sparkling.

Lambrusco is slightly sweet (it should be overly sweet but just subtly sweet enough to go head to head with a salty dish like pizza).

Lambrusco has gentle acidity. It’s not great Lambrusco when the acidity is too pronounced.

But perhaps most importantly, the Lambrusco ethos is perfect for pizza. It’s all about a casual setting with friends having a good time, relaxed and easy.

Sounds like a glass of Lambrusco, doesn’t it?

Try it and you’ll thank us.

What’s your favorite pizza to pair with Lambrusco?