|Calabria is the Italian ‘boot tip’ and one of the regions that the ancient Greeks annexed under the name of Magna Grecia, the Great Greece.
That was many years ago but today the memory of past cultural greatness is still alive within the Calabrian population, and in the vineyards you find a myriad of grape varieties that are known to have a Greek origin.
This gigantic grape potential was confirmed some years ago when the most venerable ampelograph in Italy, Professor Attilio Scienza visited Calabria’s most famous producer, Librandi, and in the 300 hectares of vineyards of this winery found more than 150 grape varieties that were not registered anywhere, but could be supposedly recognized by their Greek DNA. These 150 varieties have often been planted among, and probably confused with, the most famous Calabrian variety Gaglioppo that also originates from Greece.
Calabria’s rich grape potential is complemented by a fascinating geography, with the influence of the Tyrrhenian Sea on one side and the water in the Ionian Gulf on the other side. Add also Calabria’s complex geology, which is one of the most varied in Italy.
Based on these factors, it is not surprising that Calabria has about a dozen DOCs, but even among wine experts, only one is generally known, namely Cirò, made from the previously mentioned Gaglioppo.
Many of the existing DOCs have been created in the 1970s, but several of them have almost disappeared, which is surprising as only a very limited volume of the wine produced invokes the DOC status.
In these years, targeted efforts seem to have been made via the IGT category, to restore the reputation that the Calabrian wines had in the past; however, for economic and social reasons, the process continues slowly and the breakthrough, talked about for many years, has yet to come for the Calabrian wines, both in Italy and the export market.
It has been the opinion of anyone who has written about Calabrian wines over the past 15 years that a breakthrough is just around the corner. And we too, believe this to be so…