Reds that Sparkle at the Vancouver International Wine Fest

Cleto Chiarli flight of Lambrusco at Vancouver International Wine Festival
Cleto Chiarli flight of Lambrusco at Vancouver International Wine Festival

My first introduction to sparkling red wine was a sparkling Shiraz from Australia many years ago.  It was quite surprising at that time, and was a nice pairing with Thanksgiving turkey.  Fast forward to the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2016. Italy is the theme country, with it’s wide range of indigenous grapes and wine styles.   When you think of Italian wine you may think of Prosecco, Amarone, or Chianti Classico, but what about the sparkling Italian red wine known as “Lambrusco“?

One winery Cleto Chiarli from Emilia-Romagna in Italy brought four Lambrusco to challenge our senses and conceptions of sparkling red wine.  Lambrusco is not just one grape; there are different varieties of the Lambrusco grape, and each has unique characteristics.  The wines could be sipped on their own, but I think that they would be a very good pairing with food, due to their acidity, fruitiness and being dry. Try it with pasta and pizza, or how about grilled chicken or duck confit?

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 mouth feel.  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.

I enjoyed all their Lambrusco, but two in particular that I liked were their Cleto Chiarli “Fondatore” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC NV, and their “Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara NV.  The “Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara NV had a light cherry nose and was slightly cloudy in the glass.  It is dry, with light body, and flavours of red apples, red and sour cherries (4.5/5 stars).

The Cleto Chiarli “Fondatore” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC NV was a pretty pale rose colour.  I really enjoyed the nose  with it’s aromas of flowers, oranges and cherries.  Dry, high acidity, and flavours of tart green apples and sour cherries.  Tiny bubble.  Recommended (4.5/5 stars).

Cleto Chiarli’s wines were a big hit for me, and had many rave reviews by other wine writers and bloggers attending the Festival as well.  All the Lambrusco wines from Cleto Chiarli sold out by Friday.  Their wines are not currently available in BC Liquor Stores as regular listings, as I checked the website, but the wines may be available at some of our private wine shops, as the wines do have a well known wine representative in BC. Cincin!

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