Find the key etiquette considerations on how to serve and drink Lambrusco and tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

how to serve and drink lambrusco

What Lambrusco etiquette is

Lambrusco etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Lambrusco. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Lambrusco etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Lambrusco etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Lambrusco

Lambrusco is a variety of red grapes. It is used to make red wine. Italy is the major producer.

Lambrusco is a protected name. Its wines are either denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) or Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT).

Most Lambrusco wines are red sparkling. They can be dry to sweet. The driest variety is Secco. Dolce is the sweetest. Amabile is the middle one.

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Lambrusco

1) How to store Lambrusco

Store Lambrusco in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant. 

Place the bottles in a horizontal position. Keep them away from sources of heat. The bottles should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial. 

You can store Lambrusco in the fridge for a few hours before serving. 

Do not store Lambrusco in the freezer. It is too cold and risks spoiling the wine or popping the cork.

After opening a bottle of Lambrusco, it is best to drink it on the same day. 

2) How to prepare Lambrusco

Lambrusco does not need decanting.  

To prepare Lambrusco for serving, it is sufficient to chill it to bring the wine to its optimal temperature. Place Lambrusco in the fridge or a bucket with water and ice at least one hour before serving. 

Avoid chilling glasses in the fridge. The condensation waters down the wine and dilutes its taste.

3) How to serve & present Lambrusco

Serve Lambrusco chilled but not cold. The ideal temperature is about 12°C (54°F). Colder temperatures prevent the wine from fully releasing its bouquet. Avoid serving temperatures below 10°C (50°F).

Present Lambrusco in its bottle. After opening the bottle, you can place it in a bucket of water and ice to keep it chilled.

You should open the bottle at the dining table, or immediately before pouring it. Open the bottle by holding the cork with your palm. Gently rotate the bottle to ease the cork out. Do not pop the cork as it is bad manners.

Hold the bottle by its body, never by its neck or cork. Be careful about the pressure. Do not shake the bottle. Have a couple of empty glasses ready nearby, to pour the wine if it spills. 

It is best to serve Lambrusco in narrow glasses. Narrow glasses make the wine keep its bubbles longer. You can serve it in white wine glasses, which have a smaller belly compared to red wine glasses. Alternatively, you can serve it in a tulip glass or a flute. Fill the glasses between ⅓ and ½.

4) When to serve & drink Lambrusco

Lambrusco is most appropriate for informal occasions.

Dry Lambrusco can be served as an aperitivo or as a pre-meal drink. You can also serve it to accompany an informal meal.

Sweet Lambrusco is ideal after a meal, or to accompany a cheese course or dessert. 

5) Food & aromas to pair Lambrusco with

Dry Lambrusco pairs well with pasta, such as lasagna. It goes well with pork meat or roasted poultry. It is not common to pair it with fish or seafood.

Sweet Lambrusco is ideal with desserts or fruit salads.

Lambrusco can combine well with Italian charcuterie and cheeses. Match it with Prosciutto Crudo, Mortadella, Salame, or Coppa. Serve it to accompany aged cheese. Such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, or Pecorino. Sweet Lambrusco pairs well with Mascarpone.

6) How to drink Lambrusco

Drink Lambrusco in white wine chalices or in flutes. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand. In Italy, Lambrusco is often served in small wine tumbler glasses too. 

Drink it in small sips. A glass of Lambrusco should last between 10 and 20 minutes. Never drink shots of Lambrusco.

Never add ice to Lambrusco. First, ice waters down the wine and its bouquet. Furthermore, ice is usually added to low-quality or cheap beverages. Thus, adding ice to Lambrusco can be seen as an offense to the quality of the wine, and therefore to your host.

Lambrusco etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst Lambrusco etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk.
  • 8/10. Popping the cork.
  • 7/10. Drinking shots of Lambrusco.
  • 7/10. Serving Lambrusco warm.
  • 3/10. Adding ice to Lambrusco.

Additional information for properly serving Lambrusco

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

An individual serving of Lambrusco is a white wine glass or a flute of 100 ml (3.5 oz). It contains about 70 calories.

How to buy the best Lambrusco

A crucial factor in Lambrusco etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

Lambrusco wines must display a quality certification on the bottle. Look for an IGT or DOC label. Both certify the quality, region, and production method of the wine. 

Alternatives to Lambrusco

Prosecco can be a valid substitute for dry Lambrusco. Brachetto is a popular alternative for sweet Lambrusco.