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Southern Italy - Calabria Wine Region

Written on 09-02-2017 by Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE), Belgrade, Serbia

Lovely roofs of Calabria

Calabria, which forms the toe of the Italian boot, is a predominantely mountainous region with marked variations in microclimates between the sunny coastal hills along the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas and the chilly heights of Aspromonte massifs.


Two grape varieties of Greek origin dominate - Gaglioppo in red wines and Greco in whites.


Calabria’s average annual production of 47 million litres (16th in volume among the regions) includes 19% DOC and 13% IGT. Red wine accounts for 89% of Calabria’s production.


Calabria’s best known wine is Cirò, which grows on low hills along the Ionian coast between the ancient Greek cities of Sybaris and Kroton (Sibari and Crotone today). Local legend has it that Ciro descended directly from Krimia, the wine Calabrian athletes drank to celebrate victory in an early Olympiad. Lately Cirò has taken on contemporary touches as new methods of vine-training and temperature-controlled winemaking have diminished the alcoholic strength, making the wine rounder, fuller in fruit and fresher in bouquet. The classic Cirò is red, which in the Riserva version has the capacity to age beyond a decade from certain vintages. There is also a rosato and a bianco from Greco grapes.


Melissa, an adjacent DOC zone, makes red and white wines similar to Cirò, but red wines from the same Gaglioppo grown at higher altitudes such as Pollino, Donnici and Savuto are lighter in body and colour. The dark Greco Nero variety is also used in certain reds of Calabria.


Among the whites, the rare Greco di Bianco stands out as an exquisite but increasingly rare sweet wine; from a local variety of Greco, it has a rich, velvety texture with a citrus-like bouquet. The nearly identical Greco di Gerace is a non-DOC wine that carries the ancient place name. From the same area comes Mantonico di Bianco, a Sherry-like amber wine with hints of almond and citrus in bouquet and flavour.


In the next few days there are a few tastings planned in Belgrade pertaining to the wines from Southern Italy. When it comes to Calabria, check these two labels!