Did you know the origins of Calabria’s wine-producing regions and its traditional wine-making techniques come from the ancient Greeks? In this post, we are going to explore the Cirò DOC production located in the southeastern part of Calabria. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin).
Cirò is best known for red wines based on the Gaglioppo grape variety. They are one of the best wines coming out of Calabria today. We had a very nice excursion to Senatore Vini in Crotone where making the best Cirò DOC is a family tradition.
For years, Cirò wines were overshadowed by the top Italian wine regions (i.e., Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardi, and Sicily). Fortunately, a new generation of local winemakers plans to change the game. They have begun to alter production methods and maximizing marketing campaigns associated with Cirò wine. A wine renaissance is taking place in Calabria and they are doing a great job. Large Calabrian wine producers have already become well known in Italy’s wine scene.
They’ve embarked on a mission to transform Calabrian wine into a globally recognized wine label. The question is whether or not their efforts will bear fruit in the next few years. This article answers your question by diving into some exciting facts about Cirò wine and tracking its progress in the market. Let’s go!
Introducing Calabria’s Wine Region
Located in southern Italy, you can find Calabria at the “toe” of the peninsula. It shares a border with Basilicata in the north. The rest of the region is surrounded by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. Despite being one of the poorest regions in Italy, it manages to prosper to some extent via agriculture development. Local specialties include citrus fruits, olives, figs, and grapes. The ancient wine areas of this region are famous for their sun-drenched vineyards and optimal temperatures for producing the perfect wine appellations. Proximity to the Ionian Sea has a moderate effect on nighttime temperatures, while the day remains hot and dry. These are ideal conditions to grow grape varieties in Calabria.
The 434 miles (700 km) of coastline offers great opportunities for vineyards in the region. Wine-making in Calabria began when the Greeks introduced it in the 4th century BC. Greeks took an interest in Calabria because of its moderate temperatures, access to the sea, and fertile fields. They called it Entoria the land of wine.
According to one legend, the Greek Gods drank Cirò wine, especially after the Olympics. Milo of Croton (the greatest wrestler of antiquity) reportedly drank 10 liters per day. The wine’s robust taste and refreshing flavor were reasons why the Greeks enjoyed drinking it.
Grape Varieties in Calabria
Gaglioppo grape (Gaglioppo di Cirò ) is one of the popular native varieties found in this region. The light-colored Gaglioppo has thick skin and a high tannic quantity. They are linked to the infamous Sangiovese grapes found in Tuscany making it a popular choice amongst winemakers. It is the core ingredient of 90% of Cirò red wines produced in this region. These wines are preserved for years to promote quality fermentation and retain their much sought-after taste.
The Ultimate Taste Test
Cirò wines are a bottle of some contradictions. Their light colors are deceptive, and their aromas do not match the intoxicating smells of their popular counterparts such as Merlots, Sangiovese, and Cabernets. Additionally, they are sweet despite the tart appearance, have a soft texture and sharp, acidic tone that lingers on in your mouth. It’s this complexity that keeps Cirò as one of the best wines produced in Calabria.
Here’s a short preview of wines and the native grape varieties of Calabria
- White wines come from Greco Bianco
- Rose wines are made from Gaglioppo grapes with vinified pink hues
- Red wine is predominately produced from Gaglioppo grapes with little or no tempering
Each wine brings its very own unique taste and characteristics to the consumer. Similarly, each vineyard has its own scenic beauty and story to tell. At Tavola Tours, we proudly promote the great wines being produced in Calabria. When you take a tour of this region with us you will learn about the viniculture off Calabria and the great progress it has been making. Therefore, a special wine tasting tour at a Cirò winery is always on the agenda. Moreover, you will be surprised at the price range of these premium-quality products. The local wine winemakers of Calabria are making sure that their wines are priced affordably making them accessible to all wine enthusiasts.
Brindisi or Shall We Say Cheers?
The wine regions in Calabria are emerging as the force to be reckoned with. In a country where most of the well-known wines are produced up north, this is a great accomplishment for the southern wine producers in Italy. You can learn more about and taste firsthand the award-winning wines of Calabria on our next adventure to the region. Until then let’s raise a glass and make a toast to the future of Cirò and to all the southern wine producers of Italy. Here’s to a job well-done brindisi and cheers!