“A Rooted Family For A Happy Grape”


Who doesn’t like a wine that makes you jump for joy yet keeps you questioning what it is about it that is so intriguing. The Chiarli family of Modena is the most iconic producer of red sparkling wine in the world. Yes, that’s right!  it wasn’t the Aussie’s sparkling Shiraz, or what Burgundians turned their nose up to as  Mousseux,  that truly identified their culture like Emilia Romagna. The tale begins with Cleto Chiarli, and the proprietor of the Modena restaurant Osteria Delle Artiglierie in the mid-1800s, exchanging their goods and services with a  mere handshake; I would have loved to have been there!  Understand in those days, restaurateurs, hoteliers, winemakers had a verbal contract; I’m romantically stating,  could this have spawned a mob mentality?  Basically, they were saying, “you take care of me, I take care of you”  and it began when  Chiarli made his own wine to sell at the osteria. I’m positive he had a few great meals there, you think?! The wine was made from the juicy deliciously quaffable Lambrusco, the area’s energetic grape variety, or should I say varieties. Then, in 1860, Chiarli was fearless to establish  Emilia Romagna’s first Lambrusco-focused wine-producing company, Cantina Cleto Chiarli! 


Fast forward to the  21st century, great-grandsons, Mauro and Anselmo Chiarli, decided to build a modern production center that would maintain the integrity of the native grape as well paying tribute to native NONO ( grandpa), Cleto Chiarli. Knowing very well they ought to capitalize on their Nono’s reputation and reinvent the bad image of Lambrusco. Then, in 2002, they began building a new winery and restructured the elementary image of Lambrusco wines to craft world-class sparkling red wine! The new winery was built on the family’s estate in the heart of the Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC in Modena province. Here, producers of quality wines grow their grapes. The family had long owned vineyards along with the manor where Cialdini was born in 1811.  The new facility surrounds more than 100 acres of the prized Lambrusco Grasparossa variety vineyards. 


These are not sparkers, made from red grapes inoculated with co2.  Although they make all ranges of styles from Lambrusco, it is a wine for example that will change whatever perceptions of the cheap fizz you most identify with. This sparkler is made in the traditional method with a second fermentation developing all of its mysterious complex layers. The wine will transport you to a pastoral place as if you were tramping through the mountain forest of Emilia, foraging for wild berries on damp wet earth while wearing a wool coat. Although the grape still doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is believable here and Cantina Cleto Chiarli is its genuine ambassador. 


Lambrusco has NEVER been taken seriously, coming from a family of ancient grape mutations; over 60+! So you might think of it as a cheap, sweet alcoholic grape soda. Made in a handful of wine regions across the globe, red sparkling wine ranges from delicately sweet to bone dry. is “simply” because Emilia Romagna is most associated with being the richest culinary region of Italy, and dare I stretch it to say in the world. It is truly the breath of the ultimate gastronomic region hands down; just to refresh your memory: Parmigiano Reggiano, Modena Balsamico, and Prosciutto di Parma, all originate here. With that said Lambrusco has never been more attractive and mischievous than it is today. Why has the grape and wine of the same name been embraced historically in their culture for centuries?  It has been for them because of their rich cuisine and fertile land.  Emilia Romagna’s livelihood is agriculture, not viticulture. The region’s soils are just as rich as their food and you’ll confirm the fascination of seeing the locals gulping down the fruity sparkler without abandon. It’s light refreshing, made from a grape that is easy to grow, make, drink, and most importantly profitable.

All of their vineyards are certified VIVA under the government’s Sustainable Viticulture Program. n 2016 Cleto Chiarli started working with Cantina Sociale di Settecani, in the spiritual area of Castelvetro, to vinify the grapes from their vineyards that are farmed organic practices, for the production of the first organic certified wine: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC Organic.

In a time when many of us reflect back in our lives, especially today when we ought to think about what type of legacy we want to leave behind. Cleto Chiarli has made a solid stamp in history and the legacy he left behind with Lambrusco continues to be evolving….

What wine are you drinking that is your legacy?


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Thank you and remember Taste Small Live Big!
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