NV Opera Lambrusco di Modena Secco
Region: Modena < Emilia-Romagna < Italy
Grapes: Lambrusco Salamino
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic + biodynamic with a focus on regenerative farming; soils are a mix of sand, silt, and clay; hand-harvested, chilled, and crushed with 4-5 days of maceration to extract then fermentation at low temps for 6 months (the norm is 2-3 weeks!) in stainless steel using Charmat method. Kept in tank at low temps and then bottled to order with minimal added sulfur and no filtering or fining; 11.5% ABV
Winemaker: Mattia Montanari
The Montanari farm is an agriturismo/resort, with an emphasis on resort. It's lovely. They are committed to being ever more sustainable -- established in 2002 based on biodynamic principles, they've allowed their certification to lapse, frankly, rather than pay Demeter (the certifying agency). They run on renewable energy, mostly solar, and have an organic, no-till farm. Family-owned and operated, their wines are soulful and drier than most.
Opera (aka Ca’ Montanari) has rapidly become a benchmark producer for the region and is leading a new generation of producers that are showing what is possible with high-quality Lambrusco. The wines are 100% estate-farmed and modeled after Grower Champagne. It’s not a stretch to say they would the Agrapart of Lambrusco. Founded in 2002 and certified organic since 2005, the 45 hectare estate is family owned and operated by the Montanari family, Opera has raised the bar for what’s possible in Lambrusco. Grapes are rigorously green harvested and sorted. Upon arrival at the winery, they undergo a long cold soak at very low temps, which aids in extraction of aromatics and flavor without tannin. Whereas most other producers push the secondary fermentation through in 2-3 weeks, Opera does it for a full 6 months. This difference creates a much finer, longer lasting bubble and more complexity on the nose and palate. Finally, the wine is kept in tank and pressurized and bottled to order. The result is a super crushable, delicious Lambrusco with a stunning purity of flavor. Lambrusco is actually a family of red grapes grown mainly in Emilia-Romagna with a single DOC in Lombardy. There are more than 60 varieties that fall under the Lambrusco umbrella, but the lower-yielding Grasparossa grape is thought to be superior. The best Grasparossa is grown in the hills south of Modena, where Opera chose to build their property and focus on that varietal, with about 80%+ of their vineyards planted to Grasparossa.
Opera's Secco is everything we want in a Lambrusco -- dry, luscious, purple, chewy earth. With Lambrusco’s famous acidity and tartness, this is the wine you want with pizza, salumi, cheese or fried bits, as it'll cut through all that fat and clean your palate. In the scorching heat of the late summer, this wine is the perfect sparkling red refreshment we all want (and need!). Chill like a white wine and enjoy nice and cold!