We all know the wines of Tuscany, Piedmont, and even Sicily, but mention to someone the wines of Calabria and you might get a blank stare. Well that is about to change, the next generation of winemakers in Calabria are movers and shakers and are bringing awareness and recognition to the region.
Calabria is located in southern Italy and is the “toe” of Italy’s boot. It is an exciting wine region known for its indigenous varieties. It is the most rural and rustic part of Italy. The sun soaked region of Calabria is surrounded by blue seas and boasts dramatic rocky coasts, gorgeous rolling hills, and an abundance of olive trees. The region is relatively poor compared to the rest of Italy and also undiscovered, so you can expect a real authentic experience when visiting Calabria.
The wine origins of Calabria are quite old, first cultivated by the Oenotrians and later by the Greeks. Legend has it that the Greek athlete Milo of Croton was from this region, and that he drank 10 litres of Ciro wine a day. Tradition has it that the wines today are still made the same way.
Calabria produces mostly red wine((95 %) with the local Gaglioppo grape that thrives in Cirò. There is also 5% of white wine produced, with Greco Bianco and Trebbiano. With 12 DOCs, Cirò garners the most attention of the region. Cirò overlooks the Ionian sea and is located on the eastern foothill of the La Sila region, the soils are mostly calcareous marl with clay and sand.
One of the reasons I love Italy is that every region is a new learning experience. So many unique and indigenous grape varieties and Calabria is no exception. Gaglioppo(pronounced gah-L-‘YEE’-OHP-poh) was once a grape used to make bulk wines of the regions. Today it is having a renaissance thanks to a local producer, Librandi.
Gaglioppo is cultivated in high altitudes regions of Calabria so as to protect it against the heat. It produces wines that are structured and concentrated. Light in color, it presents itself in a soft ruby color with flavors of berries, cherries and spice.
Librandi was founded in the 1950’s by Antonio and Nicodemo Librandi and today is run by Nicodemo, his two sons Paolo and Raffaele, his nephew Francesco and his niece Teresa. They are a pioneering family that is deeply committed to reviving the region, the grape varietal(gaglioppo) and bringing recognition to Cirò on a global level.
The Librandi family has been cultivating wines for four generations, they own a total of 890 acres, 573 of which are vineyards, 247 are olive groves, and the remaining acres are dedicated to the forest. The vineyards are planted with both local varietals (Gaglioppo, Magliocco and Mantonico) and international varietals. Librandi also runs an experimental vineyard with ancient local varietals.
With deep respect for tradition, the family is dedicated to sharing the knowledge of the wine heritage of it’s wine region around the globe. The wines of Librandi speak of the land from which they come. Gaglioppo was on its way to obscurity, but with the efforts and dedication of the Librandi family, this grape varietal is experiencing a mini renaissance.
Librandi CiròRosato 2017
This delicious rosato is deep coral-pink in color with delicate red berry, floral, and spicy aromas. Cirò Rosato is flavorful and perfectly balanced on the palate. Perfect for cured meats and antipasti, eggplant parmigiana, grilled fish, white meats, or mildly spicy dishes.
Librandi Cirò Rosso Classico 2015
In spite of its pale color, this is a substantial wine. Aromas of red fruits and spice complement undertones of cranberries, wild berries, and plums. On the palate, ripe tannins and substantial body make for an incredibly rich, yet easy-going red wine. Pair this wine with sausage, spicy curry sauces, hot soppressata, and tandoori chicken.
Librandi Cirò Duca Sanfelice Rosso Riserva 2013
Ruby-red in color, this wine offers rich aromas of figs, sour cherries, and tobacco with hints of chocolate. On the palate, this wine is substantial and well-structured with tannins that hint at age worthiness and a long spicy finish. The wine pairs beautifully with roasted meats, espagnole sauces, veal saltimbocca, and gyros.
Click on this links below to find more great Gaglioppo wine in Calabria from my fellow #ItalianFWT writers:
- Jennifer at Vino Travels will share “Cirò: The Ancient Jewel of Calabria”
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Cam will share “Braised Beef Cheeks over Garlic Gnocchi + Statti Calabria Gaglioppo 2015”
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm will share “The Food and Wine of Calabria”
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish will share “Exploring Calabrian Wine: The Du Cropio Estate in Cirò”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click will share “Exploring the Toe of Italy’s Boot with Ciro Rosso”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen will share “A Taste of Calabria: Librandi Wines of Ciro”
- Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will share “A New Golden Age for the Gaglioppo in Calabria”