Discover Lively Lambrusco Wines at Bugno Martino in Mantua for Summer 2020

When the owners of Bugno Martino, Raffaella Merlin and her husband, Giuseppe Zavanella, were thinking of producing wine they knew they wanted to standout from the pack.

Bugno Martino prides itself in producing Lambrusco with care
Bugno Martino prides itself in producing Lambrusco with care

Bugno Martino – Backstory

Given that they are located in the municipality of San Benedetto Po – within the province of Mantova (Mantua in English) set in the region of Lombardi in northern Italy – their property was in the heart of Lambrusco Mantovano DOC country.

“We wanted to make a different type of Lambrusco, in an organic way.  It is difficult to find organic Lambrusco, and this was why we wanted to do something different”, says Raffaella. 

Bugno Martino steel tanks
Bugno Martino’s steel tanks

After traveling together, visiting wineries across Lombardi, the couple decided instead to take over a family farm and 12 years ago they planted their first vines.

To that end, Bugno Martino specializes in small production yields of Lambrusco Salamino, a varietal most commonly associated with Emilia Romagna, the region 10km south of their property.

This semi-sparkling wine can either be a red (Lambrusco Semi-Sparkling rosso) or rosé (Lambrusco Semi-Sparkling rosato), with a characteristic sparkling foam.

Before working in wine, Raffaella worked at an advertising agency.  It is her eye for design and craftsmanship and Bugno Martino’s emphasis on their lands’ terroir that distinguish their wines.

Bugno Martino wines
there is an a Bugno Martino wine for every occasion

Some exceptional wines from Bugno Martino.

  • Ciamballà; 100% Lambrusco Salamino that personifies the famous sparkling violet foam with aromas of red fruit and berries, full body and pleasant minerality (takes the nickname of their daughter, Greta).
  • Essentia; Lambrusco Mantovano DOC produced with an ancestral method featuring indigenous yeasts, and without the typical color additives and tannins found in more conventional wines.
  • MASO; a Rosé made with 100% Lambrusco Salamino that is named after son, Tommaso. It is a lovely pink color and features aromas of amaretto, violet, almond, with subtle acidity, sour cherry, and hibiscus on the palate.

Bugno Martino – Wine Tours

Guided tours of Bugno Martino’s vineyard and cellar are possible alongside Giuseppe and Raffaella.

It typically depends on the period visitors come. If it is spring or summer, we can visit the vineyard where you can see the grapes on the vine and learn of our techniques and methodologies. Afterwards we can have a wine tasting with regional foods. For example, we produce our own Parma Reggiano [cheese], Salame Mantovano, and mostarda. “

  • Mostarda di frutta – (or commonly just mostarda) is a delectable northern Italian condiment of fruits in a mustard-based reduction that is subtly sweet, spicy, and savory all at once.
Bugno Martino's small production Lambrusco Mantovano DOC vineyard
Bugno Martino’s small production Lambrusco Mantovano DOC vineyard in bloom

If you are interested in organic wines that are produced in limited quantities with a love of the land, then be sure to not to miss out on Bugno Martino’s selection.


Contact Details

Azienda Agricola Bugno Martino
strada Zottole 93 – 97 – San Benedetto Po (MN), Italy


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3 Top Alta Langa DOCG Wines from Piemonte, Italy

Alta Langa DOCG is Piemonte, Italy’s spumante, or sparkling wine designation.

While many new sparkling wine regions are popping up around the world, Piemonte has almost as long a history as Champagne of producing bubblies.  Aside from Alta Langa DOCG, Piemonte also produces the spumante, ASTI DOCG.

Since the mid-19th century, Italian wine producers in this region have been creating sparkling wines made of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, using the Italian take on the Champagne method… the Piemontese Metodo Classico.

Alta Langa DOCG
the Consorzio Alta Langa – the governing body of Alta Langa DOCG wines

Alta Langa DOCG – Terminology references

  • cuvée – first-pressed
  • Metodo Classico – a sparkling wine that utilizes the bottle fermentation process, which originates from the Champagne region of France
  • spumante – a sparkling dry or sweet wine

The strict regulations behind the Alta Langa DOCG have quickly helped it to gain in reputation in the last 20 years: the wines must be 100% Pinot Noir or Chardonnay (or a combination of the two), they must be aged on lees for at least 30 months, they must be vintage wines, and they must be brut or zero dosage.

The Alta Langa Consorzio, founded in 2001, worked quickly to get the DOC designation for Alta Langa in 2002, and then, building on the rising reputation of the wines, was able to apply for and receive DOCG designation in 2011.

Here are a few of my favorite producers of the Alta Langa DOCG:



Fontanafredda winery was originally bought by King Vittorio Emanuele II as a gift to his mistress Rosa Vercellana in 1858, and this love story has continued to pulse through the wines today.

Based in the Barolo region, they produce a number of wines, but were instrumental in creating the Alta Langa Spumante designation.

Visiting guests to the winery are surprised by the realization that Fontanafredda is its own self-contained village, with hotels, restaurants, and of course, numerous wine tastings and vineyard tours throughout the 122-hectare property.

Via Alba, 15 12050 – Serralunga d’Alba (CN), Italy


Giulio Cocchi

In the late nineteenth century, Giulio Cocchi was a pastry chef from Florence who moved to Asti, fell in love with a girl at a bar (still called Bar Cocchi now), and further fell in love with the sparkling and aromatized wines of the region.

He founded his namesake winery in 1891, and while Cocchi Americano is a bartender favorite nowadays, sparkling wines were always a focus of his.

In the 1970’s, the estate began producing a Spumante Brut Metodo Champenois, a top product and forerunner of the Alta Langa Metodo Classico Wines. The current owners of Giulio Cocchi, the Bava Family, continued his heritage of sparkling wine production, and were key players in pushing through the Alta Langa DOCG.

Giulio Cocchi Spumanti Srl
via Liprandi, 21 – 14023 Cocconato – Asti, Italy


Enrico Serafino

Since 1878 Enrico Serafino has been making Metodo Classico sparkling wines in Canale d’Alba. Today it is still family owned and operated, continuing the tradition that Enrico started so long ago.

Their Alta Langa vineyard, La Soprana, is high in the hills and has very rocky, marl soils, which lead to low yields and help to concentrate the wines in the cellar.

The underground cellars at Enrico Serafino, which have existed since the very beginning, are still used to age the Metodo Classico wines, of which there are five different cuvees.

Enrico Serafino S.r.l. Azienda Vitivinicola
Corso Asti, 5 – 12043 Canale (CN), Italy


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ASTI DOCG – the Sparkling White Wine that Personifies Piemonte, Italy

Asti DOCG wines of Piemonte

ASTI DOCG is a light, easy drinking sparkling white wine made from the Muscat varietal in the Piemonte region of northwestern Italy.

Not to be confused with Moscato d’ASTI DOCG, ASTI DOCG is less sweet, more sparkling, and slightly higher in alcohol content.

Official symbol of ASTI DOCG Consorzio (regulatory body)

All ASTI DOCG wines are made using a method similar to the Charmat method as with Prosecco.

The grapes are destemmed and crushed and then sent to a stainless-steel tank to ferment, however the CO2 produced as a byproduct of fermentation is not allowed to escape the tank, and it dissolves into the wine, thus creating the beloved bubbles.

Italian sparkling wine, ASTI DOCG
Idyllic Piemonte – birthplace of ASTI DOCG

After the wine reaches 8-10% ABV, the fermentation is stopped by filtering out the yeast (leaving a slight sweetness behind), at which point the wine is bottled.

The ASTI Consorzio has been responsible for upholding the good name of ASTI wines since 1932, long before the DOCG designation was developed.


ASTI DOCG - countryside
Piemonte countryside

They have been responsible for a huge increase in production and distribution, from roughly 2 million bottles sold per year in the 1940’s to more than 80 million sold per year now.

A few of my favorite producers of ASTI DOCG include:


The Cinzano family has been producing ASTI since the mid-1800’s, although their roots in the region go even further back to a candy shop in Torino in 1757.

They were given an appointment to be the suppliers of ASTI, and later Vermouth, to the Royal Courts in Torino. After this success they did not rest on their laurels; they built on their business and became pioneers in advertising, collaborating with artists and actors for many years to create some of the most iconic ads of our time.

They are still producing ASTI DOCG today, continuing to delight wine drinkers worldwide with their fresh and delicious sparklers.



Carlos Gancia was born in Italy in 1829 but moved to Reims, in Champagne in 1848, where he learned the intricate details behind making Champagne.

He later moved back to Italy and started his own winery, now called Gancia, where he became the originator of the Italian Metodo Classico, and in 1865 created a wine called Spumante Italiano using Muscat grapes.

Thus he is considered the grandfather of Asti DOCG wines, and his wines today take great care to continue his legacy; fresh and vibrant, they are excellent examples of what Asti DOCG can be.



Tosti is a 7th generation family owned business making Asti wines since 1820. They have cultivated long lasting relationships with passionate suppliers, 500 families across the region who watch over 650 hectares of land, with an average of only one hectare per supplier.

This close relationship gives them access to the crème de la crème of the Canelli region’s Muscat, allowing them to craft beautiful, terroir driven Asti DOCG wines.


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