Monday, October 12, 2009

Exploring Calabria in October

I'm a little behind in my announcement, but this month I'll be exploring Calabria as the penultimate destination in my two-year trawl through the wine regions of Italy. (photo of Calabria by Mikuzz)

Calabria is the toe of Italy's boot--and to me it always looks like Calabria is preparing to kick Sicily straight up into Spain. As a southern Italian region, Calabria is home to rustic red wines, many of them made with the native Gaglioppo grape.

They've been making wine here since at least the days of Ancient Greece, and while we may not be familiar with the wines of the region today, they were quite popular in ancient times. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder considered Calabrian wines to be of high quality, and earlier the Greek athlete Milo of Croton--a Calabrian native--boasted that he drank over two gallons of wine from Ciró every day. The tradition of athletes and Ciró wines was not limited to Milo of Croton. Legend has it that winners at the early Olympics were offered this Calabrian wine to celebrate their victories. (another great photo by Mikuzz)

With over 90% of the wine produced in Calabria falling into the category of red wine, I wasn't able to find a white example to taste this month. However, I will be reporting my tasting notes on two under $20 red wines. I'm looking forward to getting a better sense of what Calabrian wines are all about. I have reviewed one Calabrian red--a Gaglioppo from Ciró--on GWU$20, and I enjoyed its rustic, traditional character very much. But I'll be interested so see if that wine was representative, and how the other bottlings stack up against it. (photo of Gaglioppo from VinoFamily)

Have you experienced Calabrian wine? And do you have any specific tips or recommendations to share about the wines of this region? Has anyone out there had a Calabrian white, and if so did you drink it in Italy, or find it over here in the US?


Tricerapops said...

i'm interested in seeing which bottle from Ciro you reviewed - the link takes me back to the original post. thanks!

Dr. Debs said...

Fixed, Tricerapops! Thanks for letting me know.

Francesco said...

This past August I spent about 2 weeks in Calabria soaking up the sun and drinking local Ciro wine just about every day. I brought back to Florence with me two bottles of Ciro, rosso and bianco. I remember the rosso being much better than the bianco. Both were at 5 euros, so while they werent anything to write home about, at least they didnt break the bank.
Today in class I actually drank a 2005 Ciro Rosso Superiore. The producer was Liber Pater. The nose was quite delicious showing mature dried red fruits with a distinct potpourri/dried flower smell, I was very happy. However, the palate was totally disjointed, it clearly should have been drank 2-3 years ago. The wine was very thin and lacking fruit. The tannins were quite aggressive and rough and the finish awkward. I really want to try a newer vintage of this wine.