Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lambrusco? Really?? #ItalianFWT

This was my first thought when Jennifer of Vino Travels announced that we would be sampling Lambrusco this month.  Lambrusco wasn't even on my radar.  It seemed to me like the same thing as asking us to sample White Zinfandel.

My mother drank Lambrusco and White Zinfandel.  I used to laugh and say why not just have a glass of kool-aid and put a shot in it?

But not being one to turn down a challenge.  Or a glass of wine for that matter.  I jumped onto the bandwagon and ordered up a bottle of Sparkling Wine from Cleto Chiarli.

Step on in and I will tell you what I learned about this wine region, winery and what I thought of the wine........

I went onto the website and popped Emilia-Romagna into the search engine.  This is the area in which Lambrusco is made.  I was surprised at the options available to me.  I was also surprised that most of the options were dry, fizzy wines.  I decided to go with the wines from Chiarli after reading that they were the first wine producing company in the region having opened up the first winery over 150 years ago.

If you look closely at the bottle you will see the words Vecchia Modena, which means Old Modena.  You know what else Modena is famous for?  Balsamic Vinegar.

This helped me in determining what I wanted to pair with this sparkling wine from the same region.  

First, though, I want to share what I thought about the wine itself.  It poured a beautiful salmon pink color and had lots of fizz that tickled the nose.  It was dry but very fruity.  And did remind me of kool-aid, but an unsweetened version without the chemical taste but soft strawberry undertones.

I almost didn't get a chance to try this wine.  It took us a long while to figure out how to open it LOL.  It opens differently than any wine we've ever had before.  Frank finally figured out that you just had to slide the cross bar out from under the rim of the base.  

Before I share the food pairing with you let's take a look at what the others have to say about the bottles they opened.

We will all be discussing our thoughts and pairings of Lambrusco wine Saturday, June 1,  on Twitter chat.  Please join us at 11 AM ET following #ItalianFWT.

These delicious stuffed Portabello mushrooms are marinated in Modena Balsamic Vinegar before being grilled to tender perfection.  They are then filled with a wonderful tomato and cheese mixture and placed back onto the grill to allow the tomatoes to warm slightly and the cheese to melt. They make a wonderful first course or light lunch.

#appetizers, #firstcourses, #salad, #Pizza, #mushrooms,
Appetizers, First Course, Salad, Vegetables
Yield: 4 servings

Tomato Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

These delicious stuffed Portabella mushrooms are marinated in Modena Balsamic Vinegar before being grilled to tender perfection. They are then filled with a wonderful tomato and cheese mixture and placed back onto the grill to allow the tomatoes to warm slightly and the cheese to melt. They make a wonderful first course or light lunch.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 20 M


  • 4 large Portabello Mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
  • 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 t. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 T. olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint, assorted cherry and grape tomatoes
  • 5-6 lg. Basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese


How to cook Tomato Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

  1. Place the vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, half of the olive oil, salt and pepper in a large plastic bag that seals.  Shake to combine.  Place the Portabello Caps in the bag, seal and marinade, turning once or twice while the grill heats.
  2. Remove the Mushroom Caps from the marinade and grill over high heat for about 5 minutes per side, starting with the bottom side down first.
  3. While mushrooms are cooking, quarter the tomatoes and place them in a bowl with the basil and cheese.  Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and toss to coat evenly.
  4. When the mushrooms have been turn onto the tops and are nearly completely tender, fill each cap with 1/4 of the tomato/cheese mixture.  Close the lid to the grill and let finish cooking for a minute or two until the cheese is melted.


Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Ray
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Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. We tried three wines from Cleto Chiarli, too. The first did nothing to change my mind about Lambrusco. This one definitely changed my mind. And our third sealed the deal. What a great summer pour!!

    1. Yes, I was happy with this bottle. Frank? Not so much. I had to finish the entire bottle myself....oh the sacrifices I make.

  2. LOL! I’m about to try my second Lambrusco to be open-minded. We’ll see how it goes! These mushrooms sound delish!

  3. Chiarli is a good first introduction to Lambrusco Di Sorbara. A great producer!

  4. Looks like you found a really good Lambrusco. The pairing with the Portabello Mushroom caps is so healthy and delicious!

  5. Really delicious Pinny. I made them again the other night for the teen when we had kabobs. She is not much of a meat lover.

  6. Looks so delicious! I think I'm going to take inspiration from this for a Meatless Monday sometime soon. Also, we had a wine from Cleto Chiarli on that first night in Rome!

    1. If you make this dish try pairing with a bottle of Lambrusco. I think you will be pleased Nicole.

  7. I really like the stuffed portabella pairing! It's kind of like a crustless, low carb pizza, and you could make it so much quicker than homemade dough. That touch of balsamic vinegar from Modena works really nicely too with Lambrusco. Yum!

  8. I'm glad you ended up with a better impression of Lambrusco than White Zin! Those stuffed portobellos look like little mini pizzas. Yum!

    1. Yes, I don't think I will be singing praises of White Zin anytime in the future LOL

  9. Great content and glad you gave space to Lambrusco - it's a wine that shouldn't be overlooked! Great choice regarding Cleto Chiarli... If you can you should try their "Lambrusco del Fondatore"... it's amazing!!

  10. Mushrooms are the hero of the kitchen in any season. Love how you've made them pop with fresh ingredients and super wine!

  11. I had to laugh when I read your description of Lambrusco as kool-aid with a shot! That's how I remember it tasting, too! Great learning experience this month - and your mushrooms sound like the perfect pairing for your wine.

  12. Seems a few of us enjoyed this producer and it's not surprise considering their history. Glad the event helped paint another picture of lambrusco in your mind.

    1. Yes, and I'm glad that I tried this company. I look forward to trying other wines they make.


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