My first experience with Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara was relatively recent, at a restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was excited to try a Lambrusco that I didn’t know. I see Lini Lambrusco everywhere which is great but sometimes I want to try something different. As I repeat often on this blog, I am a huge fan of bubbles be it “spumante” or in wines such as Lambrusco that are better defined as “frizzante.” The difference between the two is the amount and size of the bubbles which must come from the amount of pressure (atmospheres) in the bottles themselves. According to this note from Mary Gorman, a Master of Wine whom I trust completely to give correct information, the atmospheres are quite different, “Frizzante wines have between 2.5 and 3.5 bars of atmosphere/pressure while Spumante wines are usually between 5 and 6 bars.”
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s discuss this Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco. Apparently the winery has been in existence since 1860 and hails from the city of Modena. Modena is a beautiful city to visit and a great place to have wonderful food from the region. Many people think of Modena only for its Balsamic vinegar but it is also home to great cuisine. Cleto Chiarli make a huge variety of Lambruscos from Sorbara and from Grasparossa di Castelvetro as well as other wines made from indigenous grapes such as Pignoletto and still others from blends of indigenous and international varieties. According to the company’s website they export half of their production throughout the world.
The wine itself is a light and somewhat fruity red sparkler with notes of cherries but also some undertones of earthiness that I really like. The acidity helps it to work perfectly with food. It is a relatively light drink so can stand on its own as an aperitif. I like Lambrusco with charcuterie, its perfect match and have also enjoyed Lambrusco with pizza on occasion.
I was excited to see a Lambrusco di Sorbara on the wine list at the Balcony Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love the Museum and there is nothing more festive than having a drink at their bar and listening to the live classical music usually being played. It’s amazing to me the journey that Lambrusco has taken over the last 30 years. I have always been a fan but am happy to see there are so many of us that it is considered to be a good fit at the Museum bar. I was also recently at the Guggenheim and saw that they have a Prosecco at their small bar on the second floor, basically a coffee bar with three wines on the list. Again, excited to see Italian sparkling wines making the cut.