Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco del Fondatore 2018
The story of Lambrusco is closely intertwined with the Chiarli family of Modena, arguably the most important producer of red sparkling wine in the world. The tale begins with Cleto Chiarli, the proprietor of the Modena restaurant Osteria dell’Artigliere in the mid-1800s. As was common for restaurateurs and innkeepers in those days, Chiarli made his own wine to sell at the osteria. Naturally, the wine was made from Lambrusco, the area’s primary grape variety, and it was well-received by customers—so much so that in 1860 Chiarli was emboldened to found Emilia Romagna’s first wine-producing company, the Cantina Cleto Chiarli.
By the turn of the 21st century, the business was in the hands of Cleto Chiarli's great-grandsons Mauro and Anselmo Chiarli, and they decided to move to a new production center that would focus on more or an artisanal, quality-driven style. In 2002, they began building a new facility to produce a higher-end line of Lambrusco wines using carefully selected, estate-grown grapes and state-of-the-art equipment. The new company was named Cleto Chiarli after the founder.
The new winery was built at an estate in the heart of the Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC in Modena province. Here, the family had long owned vineyards and a manor house where Gen. Enrico Cialdini, a hero of the Italian reunification, was born in 1811. Slowly and carefully, the Cialdini house was converted into a modern winemaking facility. Surrounding it are more than 100 acres of Lambrusco Grasparossa vineyards, as well as 17 acres of Grechetto Gentile vines.
The Cleto Chiarli estate also includes vineyards in Sozzigalli, planted to Lambrusco di Sorbara. This is for the production of Vecchia Modena Premium, the first ever Lambrusco to receive the Tre Bicchieri from the Gambero Rosso. Also their bottle fermented Lambrusco, Fondatore.
All of the vineyards are certified VIVA under the government's Sustainable Viticulture Program. in 2016 Cleto Chiarli started working with Cantina Sociale di Settecani, in the area of Castelvetro, to select the best grapes from their vineyards that are farmed according to organic viticulture practices, for the production of the first organic certified wine: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC Organic
Like Cleto Chiarli the man, Cleto Chiarli the winery continues to be an innovator and leader in the production of fine Lambrusco wines, whose story is still being written.
Extending from the Adriatic coast in the east, to the border of the Mediterranean Ligurian region in the west, Emilia Romagna is a large, central Italian region focused on a wide array of gastronomic specialties. The plains of Emilia host four well-defined subzones for its famous, lightly sparkling red, Lambrusco. The more coastal Romagna has the capacity to produce impressive wines from Sangiovese and Albana.
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.