The Roman colony of Mutina was founded in 183 BC. on previous prehistoric settlements. The city soon became large and rich, but the last centuries before the fall of the Roman Empire were a period of substantial decline for Modena. Mutina was also particularly marked by the death of Bishop Geminiano on 31 January 397. Nowadays, 31 January is a festive day, and the Patron Saint is celebrated. The rebirth took place around the year one thousand. On June 9, 1099, construction work began on the new Roman Catholic Cathedral. In 1289 the centuries-old relationship between the city and the Este family began and, although the first years were not peaceful, from the mid-14th century the Este authority was definitively reaffirmed.
The Renaissance period was very flourishing for Modena both from an artistic and cultural point of view, indeed the Historic Center still bears witness today. The year 1598 represented a turning point for Modena, as the Duke of Ferrara Cesare I was forced by the Papacy to abandon the city, and Mutina became the capital of the Este domains and remained so until 1859. The Duchy of Modena extended over time as far as Reggio Emilia and the Tyrrhenian Sea, in a strategic position for trade. Thus begins the long history of Modena as the capital, seat of a court of European level: this is how the great building renovation works, the illustrious guests hosted in the city, the artistic splendor of its palaces and churches are justified. The dukes were definitively expelled in 1859 following the revolutionary uprisings of the Risorgimento, Modena definitively entered the new Kingdom of Italy.. Finally, the city is known worldwide above all for Luciano Pavarotti’s bel canto, for its motoring tradition (Ferrari, Maserati), for its culinary excellence and for its Cathedral which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
Modena is the richest Italian city in terms of DOP and IGP products, and the following are just few examples:
Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Di Modena Dop, Parmigiano-Reggiano Dop, Lambrusco Grasparossa Di Castelvetro Dop, Lambrusco Di Sorbara Dop, Lambrusco Salamino Di Santa Croce Dop, Lambrusco Modena Dop, Prosciutto Di Modena Dop, Zampone Di Modena Igp, Cotechino Di Modena Igp.
The main first course that characterizes the area of Modena is undoubtedly “Tortellini”, namely pasta stuffed with a mixture of meat served in capon broth and usually eaten with the help of a spoon. On the other hand, if the size is bigger and the pasta is stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, they are “Tortelloni”. The latter are usually served with melted butter and sage.
Among the main courses of Modenese cuisine, sausages and cured meat dominate. The “cotechino”, served with lentils and smashed potatoes, is boiled, and is made with a rich filling of minced meat (noble parts of the pig and rind with spices and aromatic herbs) inside the animal casings. Like cotechino but characterized by a decisive taste and with the peculiarity of having pig’s nails, is the “zampone”. The latter resulted to be directly wrapped in the front leg. “Gnocco fritto” is another dish of the Emilian tradition:
a mixture of water, flour and lard is fried, preferably in lard, so as to make it swell, and then served with cured meats, lard, cheese and even jams. It is usually ordered together with “crescentine” (or commonly known as “tigelle”), disks of bread, cooked according to tradition between hot plates. Then, tigelle are cut and filled with the same fillings of gnocco fritto.
The approximately 380 members of the winery expertly cultivate their grapes over a total area of over 600 hectares of vineyards, located in the dry soils of the high plains and hills of Modena, areas dominated by stately villas and ancient castles, where the background of the Apennines, on which Mount Cimone stands out, it frames a gentle landscape of rare beauty. 70% of the grapes delivered to the modern factory in Corlo of Formigine is Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC, of which the winery is the largest producer, being in the heart of the area of origin of this autochthonous vine. This vine of not great vegetative vigor has a particular characteristic: in autumn not only the leaves turn red, but also the stem and pedicels. The bunch is loose, conical in shape, of medium length, with spheroidal berries, dark blue or blackish in colour, pruinose, with firm skin and medium juicy, sweet, slightly acidic pulp. It easily tolerates adversity, even climatic ones, and ripens relatively late, after having captured even the last rays of the autumn sun. In the hilly area proper, the surface soils are not very permeable, very “lean” and laboriously cultivated, because they are mostly made up of sandy or marly clays and flaky clays incorporating limestone blocks of all sizes. It is precisely in these areas that Lambrusco Grasparossa can give less abundant productions, but of great quality.
In the sub-hilly area, the soils are instead made up of silt and silty sand on a gravel bottom, and therefore they offer good permeability. In these lands, Lambrusco Grasparossa provides a much more abundant production, but with similar peculiarities of Lambrusco grown in the hills. Intense ruby red in color, with violet reflections and evanescent foam with edges of the same shade, it has a vinous, intense, fruity, fragrant, complex bouquet, which also recalls the aroma of grapes. With a savory, harmonious, pleasantly vinous flavour, balanced acidity, slightly fruity, with a pleasant bitterish aftertaste. Among the types of Lambrusco D.O.P. it is the one with the fullest and most present body. It goes splendidly with first courses seasoned with meat, baked pasta, roasts, cured meats, cheeses including fermented pasta and more generally with all the traditional first courses of Emilian cuisine.
Another product that characterizes the area of Modena is Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC. The latter is known for the so-called millerandage, namely the grains remain few millimeters in diameter and give uniqueness and preciousness to the vine. To facilitate fecundation, Sorbara is grown with a specific percentage of Lambrusco Salamino. The soil of the classic area, wedged between the Secchia and Panaro rivers, was formed because of the flooding of the two rivers and has a predominantly loose and sandy bottom, permeable and rich in potassium. The Lambrusco di Sorbara has a light ruby red color with a slightly pink froth. The scent is fresh, very fine, with a marked note of violet. With a delicate, savory, slightly fruity flavor and characterized by high acidity. Among the other Lambrusco products, such as Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani can be identified. Among the black berried grapes, the Malbo Gentile deserves to be mentioned, or more commonly called “Amabile di Genova”. It is a vine that particularly prefers lean soils and therefore finds its natural habitat above all in the foothills and Apennine areas. Often used as a blending wine for other Lambruscos, recently also vinified alone. Among the white berried grapes, the presence of Trebbiano Modenese, Pignoletto and aromatic Malvasia is important. The organic production is also relevant, mainly Lambrusco Grasparossa, especially in the foothills. A consolidated and expert group of technicians closely follows every single member step by step throughout the year, to guarantee the highest quality of the grapes delivered to the winery.