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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. When designing and building the property they brought in Luca D’Attoma, one of the most respected winemaker/consultants in all of Italy, to bring a fresh perspective focused on quality over quantity to this region more famous for crown caps and sugar water. Now fully under the guidance of proprietor Mattia Montanari, Opera has raised the bar for what’s possible in Lambrusco. Every possible step to make the best possible Lambrusco is taken at Opera. Grapes are rigorously green harvested and sorted. Upon arrival at the winery they undergo a very 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. Lastly 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 identifiable varieties that fall under the Lambrusco umbrella, but the lower-yielding Grasparossa grape is thought to produce the greatest quality wine. The best Grasparossa is grown in the hills south of Modena where Opera chose to build the property and focus on that varietal, with about 80%+ of their vineyards planted to this varietal. The remaining is planted to Sorbara, the only varietal that could give Grasparossa a challenge as the best varietal. Sorbara is known for fragrant aromatics and high acids while Grasparossa is one of the most tannic and structured varietals. Opera is able to make wines that have this brilliant tension of fruit and structure by focusing on winemaking that emphasizes freshness with this big grape. Fermentations are kept extremely cold and the very modern facility is designed to keep oxidation to an absolute minimum.
95% Lambrusco Grasparossa, 5% Lambrusco Salamino. Soils are a mix of sand, silt, and clay in the hills around Levizzano Castelvetro and the vineyards have a southeast exposure. Hand-harvested, chilled, and crushed with 4-5 days of maceration to extract phenolics and moderate tannins. 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.
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