Modena – the home of Ferrari and Maserati, of Pavarotti and Acetico Balsamico – is also the home of Lambrusco. From the day in 1860 when Cleto Chiarli shut the doors of his Osteria dell’Artigliere to concentrate all his efforts on winemaking, the Chiarli name has been synonymous with this great – and much misunderstood – wine style. Chiarli’s expertise in everything from wine quality to marketing – its innovative bottle, label and cork were much admired as long ago as 1900 – sparked a revolution in selling Lambrusco, and by 1910 this family company was making 1m bottles a year.
There have been challenges along the way, such as the extensive damage done to the Chiarli winery by Allied bombers in 1944, and the boom-and-bust years of Lambrusco’s rise and fall in fashionability. Compromises in quality among other producers brought about Lambrusco’s inevitable decline, but through this volatile period Chiarli has stayed true to its origins, focusing on the historic varietals of Sorbara and Grasparossa, alongside promising new styles such as Pignoletto.