Lambrusco – Really?

Whether I’m travelling with a camera or not, I love nothing more than a nice chilled glass of wine.  However, if you offered me a glass of Lambrusco, my response wouldn’t be favourable!  Memories of sweet, fizzy, horrible tasting stuff and people taking it to parties, then drinking what everyone else took spring to mind.   Until now…

On the way from Modena to Bologna, I stopped off in Castelvetro which sits in the heart of Lambrusco land, the Emilia Romagna region.  I wanted to check out the famous Modena balsamic vinegar.   A charming town with a wonderful medieval historic centre and panoramic views of the rolling Italian landscape and vineyards.

The wine tour hadn’t been on the ‘to do list’ the evening prior.  That was until I popped in the Athenaeum Cafe in Modena – a must if in town.  A wonderful wine bar with a great host in Fabrizio, whom I thankfully told that I didn’t like Lambrusco.  Fabrizio proceeded to pour me the largest ‘taste’ of red Lambrusco I have ever seen and I was hooked!

Cleto Chiarli Wines for tasting
Cleto Chiarli Wines

So, on arrival in Castelvetro, it was into the local information centre and a wine tour at Cleto Chiarli, a few kms out of town, was arranged.

Annie Wilcox selfie at Cleto Chiarli
Annie Wilcox at Cleto Chiarli

Ludovica met us at the gate with gusto.  The grounds of Cleto Chiarli are tranquil and charming, they have been in business since 1860.  Firstly you are given a tour of the vineyard, with the history of Cleto Chiarli, Lambrusco and the grapes.  Ludovica told us more about Lambrusco getting its bad name at the end of the 1970s and 80s when it stated to be mass produced and exported – it was far from the original product.  They have been striving ever since to reintroducing standards which show the excellence of this fine wine.

Cleto Chiarli Founder
Cleto Chiarli Founder
bunch of Lambrusco grapes on the vine
Lambrusco Grapes

It was then onto the wine production area for the story of the grape to the bottle.  Check out my video of the bottling process.  Listen out for the one that exploded – I impressed myself at how still I kept my hand at that moment!

Wine Production Machinery press
Wine Production Machinery

It was then back into the house and the beautiful tasting room.  A choice of 2 or 4 wines at the bargain price of 5 or 10€ per person which includes some nibbles.  It would have been rude not to have tasted all 4!

Cleto Chiarli Winery Tasting Room
Cleto Chiarli Tasting Room

My favourite?  The Modén Blanc Pignoletto Brut – a real steal at €8.

Modén Blanc Pignoletto Brut
Modén Blanc Pignoletto Brut
NV Rosé Brut de Noir at Cleto Chiarli winery
NV Rosé Brut de Noir

When you see a Lambrusco or Pignoletto on the wine list, give it a go.  You may be pleasantly surprised…

Cleto Chiarli Winery building, Castelvetro, Italy
Cleto Chiarli Winery, Castelvetro, Italy
Vines in Cleto Chiarli Winery
Cleto Chiarli Winery


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