Wines to Find – Cirò
Posted by: Mignon Potenza on August 8, 2011 | 0 comments
One of the foremost reasons visitors come to Italy is to taste the glorious, simple but delicious food and drink the historic wine. Everyone knows the Barolos and the Brunellos – but what wines should you try when travelling through the south? In this section of the blog we’ll tell you about the wines you have to find!
Most of southern Italy has seen various rulers in its history – from Ancient Greeks to Roman rule to Spanish kings. Winemaking in this area goes all the way back to those first rulers, the Ancient Greeks, who left behind their talents for cultivating grapes and winemaking. The Greeks called the Calabria area “Enotria” – meaning “land of wine”.
Gaglioppo on the vine:
The most prestigious local wine is a DOC called Cirò, from the town of the same name near the Ionian sea. It is a red wine made from the Gaglioppo grape, an indigenous varietal. Gaglioppo (learn how to pronounce from one of the best young producers himself, Francesco de Franco here) has been grown in this region since the time that it was used as a gift to the gods in the ancient Greek Olympics by the best athletes! Don’t let this wine’s pale color fool you – it is usually potent and intense with strong tannins that can pair with many dishes thanks to their its acidity and fruit. Almost every Calabrian wine is a bargain – a bottle of Cirò from this somewhat undiscovered wine region can sell for the equivalent of 10-15 dollars (8-12 Euros) a bottle. Some of the easiest producers to find in Italy and abroad are Librandi and Ippolito 1845.
Cirò is going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment – it is gaining steadily in popularity, especially with wine nerds! Some producers are trying to seize the moment and make their wine more “international” by adding non-indigenous grapes like merlot or cabernet. This makes the wine more intense and concentrated, both in color and body. Other Cirò producers are trying to stick to their traditions and keep producing using only the Gaglioppo grape. I think it’s important to keep the grape alive in its purest form since its history goes back to the ancient Greeks, don’t you? Imagine drinking a glass of the same wine that the first Olympians enjoyed!
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