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