In 1850, Cleto Chiarli moved from the countryside to the town of Modena, together with his wife Lucia and their four children. In 1860 Cleto Chiarli decided to close his ‘osteria’ down in order to dedicate himself only to the making of Lambrusco, which until then he had been producing for his customers in the ‘Artigliere’. At the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris the ‘Cleto Chiarli & Figli’ is awarded the prestigious ‘Mention Honorable’ prize, and its certificate has been carefully kept to this day.
The Company flourished and was able to reach an impressive production of one million bottles in 1910. Its Lambrusco was also able to broaden its horizons; following the great number of emigrating Italian families, Chiarli wines became very successful not only in Italy but also in other countries, such as the U.S., Argentina, France and Germany.
In 1958 Chiarli is the first wine-producing company in the Emilia-Romagna region to adopt the ‘Charmat Method’ in the production of its wine, through which the process of re-fermentation is carried out in closed tanks, called “cuves closes”. In this way it was possible to produce a Lambrusco which is even more fragrant, fruitier and more varied.
In 2000, this old and historic winery was producing over 20 million bottles per year, and 50% of those were exported.
After many years of success, Great-grandsons Mauro and Anselmo decided in 2002 to start a very ambitious project: the building of a brand-new winery, which would have a new state-of-the-art production line, fitted with the latest technology, thus enabling them to process the grapes grown in the Chiarli estates in order to produce Lambrusco of the highest quality.
From ‘Wine Enthusiast’ – one of the most prestigious wine magazine from the USA – we obtained 90 points for ‘Premium – Vecchia Modena’ Lambrusco di Sorbara and also 90 points for ‘Fondatore’ Lambrusco di Sorbara, 89 points for ‘Vigneto Cialdini’ and 85 points for ‘Centenario – Lambrusco Grasparossa Amabile’.
From the Cleto Chiarli website: “Lambrusco, as shown by some writings by Virgil and the Elder Pliny, is a large ancient family of autochthonous vines, which may well be the oldest in Europe. In the XIX Century, among the many varieties farmed in the past, two were selected by tradition for their special characteristics: the Sorbara and Grasparossa. In 1970 they obtained, alongside the Salamino di Santa Croce, the DOC recognition.
The area where Sorbara grows lies on a large alluvial plain to the North of Modena, between the rivers Secchia and Panaro. The Grasparossa on the other hand thrives to the South of the City, around Castelvetro, where low hills start to rise gently.
Each variety therefore has its own area where the soil composition and the diversity of climate are clearly reflected in the wines’ characteristics. The Sorbara, which has a delicately fresh flavour, presents a peculiarly light ruby colour, intense scent and delicate sensations of violet and raspberry. The Grasparossa presents a deep ruby colour with purple shades, a fresh-fruit bouquet and intense body.
Although they are vines from close areas, each has its own individual characteristics and each its own admirers who are not willing to appreciate other varieties of Lambrusco in the same way.
The area at the foot of the hills in the province of Modena has always had some Trebbiano vineyards, which give out grapes of an excellent quality. They are essential, today as in the past, to the production of the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (Balsamic Vinegar of Modena).
Furthermore, for about a decade now, the autochthonous Pignoletto vines have been spread from the border with the Province of Bologna to our area, with the care of the most expert vine farmers. Today the Pignoletto presents an exciting new reality thanks to the expertise offered by the producers: it is now an official new DOC Modena category alongside the Lambrusco.”
Cleto Chiarli grows two varieties of the Lambrusco grape: Lambrusco di Sorbara and Lambrusco Grasparossa. Lambrusco di Sorbara is the oldest Lambrusco varietal grown in Northern Modena. It has a pale red colour, deep aroma of violets and currants, and has a soft mouthfeel. Lambrusco Grasparossa is grown mainly on the hills south of Modena. The area has gravelly soil which produces a wine that is ruby red in colour with hints of purple violet, and a bouquet bursting with red fruits.
The Wines We Will be Pouring at the Festival
Cleto Chiarli produces both “Sparkling Wine” and “Lambrusco”, which is another type of sparkling wine produced from the Lambrusco grape.
“Fondatore” – 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara. Traditional vinification, ‘Pris de Mousse’ through natural in-bottle fermentation which is followed by a six-month long ageing. Floral, elegant, rigorous. It has a complete range of fragrances, a combination between structure and roundness without compromises. A masterpiece. Accompaniments: Pasta, tortellini, boiled meat and, in general, traditional cuisine from Emilia.
“Brut de Noir” Rosé – Grasparossa and Pinot Nero blend. Soft pressing with both whole or stalk-less grapes at a controlled temperature and with selected yeasts added. Pris de Mousse in cuvee close at a low temperature. Violet-shaded rosé, delicate, well-structured, with intense fragrances of strawberries and raspberries and a lively round taste. Seductive. Accompaniments: Excellent as an aperitif, and ideal for elegant dinners; it also goes very well with desserts, strawberry and fruit salads.
“Centenario” Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC Amabile – 100% Grasparossa di Castelvetro grapes are used in this wine. Traditional pressing with a 48-hour long maceration. Slow fermentation of pure grape must in “cuve close” at the temperature of 18° C. A delicious ‘amabile’ wine of an intense ruby red colour, with a generous froth. Fruity nose and taste typical of this varietal. Perfect balance between the natural high acidity and the residual sugar. Particularly suitable for pasta dishes, pizza and ideal for parties as an aperitif.
“Vigneto Cialdini” Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOP – 100% Grasparossa di Castelvetro grapes are used in this wine. Traditional pressing from a single vineyard. The grapes have a soft pressing with a 48-hour long maceration at 10°-12° C. Fermentation at a low temperature with selected yeasts added. Second fermentation (‘Pris de Mousse’) in ‘cuve close’. Ruby red colour, intense froth, full round body, lovely blackberry and raspberry fruit on the palate. Pasta dishes as well as roasted meat recipes pair well with this wine.
“Premium” Lambrusco Grasparossa di Sorbara DOP – 100% Grasparossa di Sorbara grapes are used for this wine from a single vineyard of 15 hectares. Hand picked and sorted, followed by soft pressing with light maceration for 24 hours at 10°-12° C. Second fermentation (‘Pris de Mousse’) in ‘cuve close’ at low temperature. Pairs nicely with shellfish and spicy dishes.