Category Archives: Calabria

ITALIAN SUMMER WHITE WINES FOR UNDER $ 20

My motto has always been that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on wine to drink well. Over the last year I have tasted  many excellant Italian white wines that are under $20.  Here is a list of some of my favorites.


Frascati Superiore Secco 2009 DOC Lazio Fontana Candida Made from 60% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, 30% Trebbiano and 10% Malvasia del Lazio. The grapes come from hillside vineyards in the DOC zone located in the province of Lazio, in the communes of Frascati, Monteporzio Cantone, Grottaferrata, Montecompatri and Rome. The grapes are harvested between September and October and immediately transported to the cellar where they are gently pressed. Vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel and then bottled under nitrogen to protect its freshness and fruit. The wine has aromas and flavors of white peaches and apples. It has good acidity and minerality with a long finish and a nice aftertaste. $10.

Bianco Veronese “Ferdi” 2009 IGT Sartori di Verona (Veneto) made from 100% Gaganega.  There is a careful selection of handpicked grapes from different vineyards that are partially dried in small boxes for 30- 40 days (appassimento) in order to reduce water and concentrate sugar content and color.  3 grams of sugar per liter in the wine is balanced by the acidity. There is a light cold soaking. The pressing of the grapes is followed by short skin maceration at a low temperature.
Part of the must is fermented in 500-liter oak tonneaux but the oak is not new. The remainder is aged in stainless steel. The wine is then left to mature on its lees for 6/7 months. This adds mouth feel and intensity. The wine is aged in bottle for at least 3 months before release. The wine has subtle floral notes with hints of pears and apricots and good acidity.  $14

Gavi del Comune di Gavi DOCG 2010 Beni di Batasiolo 100% Cortese (Piedmont) the vineyards are at 100/200 meters and there are 3,500 vines per hectare. They use the Guyot system modified into small arches. There is soft pressing with static decanting, and the alcoholic fermentation is under strict temperature control. The wine is bottled after malolactic fermentation. The wine has aromas of white flowers with hints of white peaches, citrus and good acidity. $18.99

Cuppa Ramato 2009Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio IGT 2009 Attems.
The harvest took place near the end of September and the grapes were harvested by hand. Vinification takes place in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. Fermentation lasted for seven days. For this wine the skins remained in contact with the juice for 12 hours and the wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for four months in barriques and two months in stainless steel and one month in bottle before release. It has the color of a blush wine. The aroma is very aromatic with hints of strawberry and cherry. It is quite firm on the pallet with a nice fruit in the finish and aftertaste. It is a most interesting wine! $19

 The history of the Orange Wine
This wine goes back to the way Pinot Grigio was made during the time of the Republic of Venice. Ramato, meaning copper, was the term used to describe the color of the wine. Some clones of Pinot Grigio can also be copper in color. The traditional vinification process led to the use of this name. The must remains in contact with the skins for 36 hours and this gives the wine a very distinctive coppery hue. The term “orange wine” is used to describe white wine where the juice has had skin contact.

Grechetto Dell’Umbria IGT 2010, made from 100% Grechetto. Scacciadiavoli The harvest takes place the first ten days of September. Vinification takes place in steel tanks on the lees and malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 months before release. Grechetto is a native Umbrian varietal and this a wine to be enjoyed when it is young. It is fresh and fruity with floral hints and good acidity. $18
Vermentino Maremma Toscana IGT 2011 Cecchi 85% Vermentino and 15% other approved grapes. The vines are at 150 meters and the training system is guyot. There are 5,500 grapes per hectare. Harvesting takes place the beginning of September. After the grapes are picked they are left for 12 hours at a temperature of 8°C in contact with the skins in order to keep the primary aromas.
Fermentation takes place in small stainless steel tanks for 18 days and the wine remains in bottle for two months before release. $16
Pecorino 2009 Offida DOC 100% Pecorino Saladini Pilastri.  The vineyard is 4 hectares at 150 meters with gravelly soil and east/northeast exposure. Training system is vertical shoot-positioned trellis, and there are 4,200 plants/ha. The harvest takes place in the middle of September and the grapes are organically farmed. Temperature controlled fermentation for 20 days. This is a wine with floral and herbal undertones and nice citrus aromas and flavors.  $14.99

Scavigna Bianco DOC 2010 Azienda Agricola Odoardi (Calabria) made from Greco Bianco, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Pinot Bianco and Riesling. The winery is at 600 meters. The soil is calcareous clay and the training system is Guyot. The harvest takes place in late August and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine has flavors and aromas of white peach and herbs. They are one of the few producers that make this wine.  Owners are Giorgio and Giovanbattista Odoardi. $17

Falanghina Beneventana IGT 100% Falanghina  Donna Chiara.(Campania)  The soil is chalky clay, there are 2,500 vines per hectare, the training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place the first week of October. Fermentation in stainless steel at controlled temperature for 40 days. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and does not see any wood.
The wine was fresh with hints of citrus and floral aromas and flavors, good acidity and is a very pleasant wine to drink. $18

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Filed under Calabria, Ciró, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Frascati, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Odoardi winery, Sartori di Verona, Scacciadiavoli, Scavigna Bianco, Vermentino, wines under $20

Calabria at the American Institute of Wine and Food

“Calabria Revisited” was the theme of a dinner organized by the American Institute of Wine and Food at Alloro Restaurant in Manhattan to benefit their children’s outreach program known as the Days of Taste.  Chef Salvatore Corea, who was born in Calabria, was our host and presented a menu of regional dishes.  His wife Gina made everyone feel at home in this family run restaurant.  I was asked to speak about the wines of Calabria and the three wines we were having with dinner.

Calabria is the most rural and least industrialized regions of Italy.

90% of the wine production is red.

Except for Ciró, the wines of Calabria are not very well known in this country.  Calabria has a history of viniculture going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, in fact the Greeks called Southern Italy Enotria, the land of wine, but today Calabria seems to have fallen behind the rest of Italy. 90% of the the wine production is red. It is the most rural and least industrialized regions of Italy.

The Slow Wine Guide, published by the Slow Food organization, lists only two wineries from Calabria in its English version of the guide.

The Gambero Rosso guide lists many more wineries, including the ones that we had with dinner. In the 2009 edition,  they awarded three glasses, their highest award to a few wines, one being a Ciró and a wine from Calabria was named sweet wine of the year. Things may be improving, but they still have a long way to go.

The Wines 

Scavigna Bianco DOC 2010 made from Greco Bianco, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Pinot Bianco and Riesling. Azienda Agricola Odoardi the winery is at 600 meters. The soil is calcareous clay and the training system is Guyot. The harvest takes place in late August and the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine had flavors and aromas of white peaches with notes of herbs and grass. They are one of the few producers that make this wine.  Owners are Giorgio and Giovanbattista Odoardi.

Ciró Rosso Classic Superiore “Liber Pater” DOC 2009 it is made from 100% Gaglioppo grapes.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel. Ippolito 1845.   This is a rustic wine with deep red and black fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of leather. It has a long finish and a distinctive aftertaste. I liked the wine and it was a great combination with the Candele di Gragnano con ragù n’juduia, pecorino crotonese, scorzette d’agrumi di candite, long pasta tubes in a sauce flavored with a spicy soft sausage and candied lemon zest. 

Gaglioppo is a grape that was probably brought to Southern Italy by the ancient Greeks, or so the producers say.

However this has become a matter of debate.

Ciró is the best known of the Calabrian wine regions and makes a very distinctive wine.  However this is going to change as the production code now allows international grape varieties to be added to the Gaglioppo.

The Slow Wine Guide is against this “…it finds this decision perplexing not only because it goes against tendencies in the rest of the South but because it is a hard blow to a distinctive DOC that has contributed significantly to Italy’s wine history.” I could not agree more!

Savuto Rosso Blend DOC “Vigna Colle Barabba” DOC made from the Arvino, Greco Nero, Magliocco, Canino and Nerello Capuccio grapes. Mauro Colacino. They use spurred cordon-sapling training for the vines. The wine is fermented in stainless steel  This is a softer, more elegant wine than the Ciró with subtle red fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of cherry.

This wine went very well with the Filetto di maiale con salsa di miele e peperoncino, verze stufate, crema fritta e pancetta crocante,roasted pork lion, with honey & spice red pepper sauce, braised cabbage, fried cream and crisp pancetta.

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N’ Tice Liquor, Calabria, a digestivo that is made from vodka, grappa and citrus and was the perfect end to the dinner.

 

 

 

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Filed under Alloro restaurant, Calabria, Ciró, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Odoardi winery, Salvuto Colacino, Scavigna Bianco