Saturday, November 3, 2018

Ciro: The Ancient Jewel of Calabria

The region of Calabria is located in southern Italy at the tip of the boot.  Our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) is here this month to feature Calabria and its native grapes.  It's not a highly regarded region for winemaking and doesn't get much attention for the wines that it does produce.  It's most popular wine hails from the Ciro DOC, which is required to be made of at least 95% of the gaglioppo grape with up to 5% of greco bianco and trebbiano.
Calabria wine region
Copyright of Federdoc
The Winery
Today I'm featuring Azienda Agricola Scala that has been around since 1949 and is operated by its 3rd generation family. The winery is located in Ciro Marina along the Ionian Sea.  Their focus is on producing native grapes such as gaglioppo, nerello, magliocco, greco and mantonico.  A couple of these grapes, magliocco and mantonico, are grapes that have been revived in recent times.  The goal is to refocus the quality of wines produced in Calabria and reestablish the indigenous grapes of the region. 
Azienda Agricola Scala in Calabria
Left to right: Luigi Scala and Francesco Scala
The Land
Calabria's geography is mostly mountainous with some plains along the Ionian Sea.  It was a region heavily populated by Greeks that contributed greatly to the culture and winemaking within the region. There is plenty of sunshine and warm weather, but the breezes coming off the sea help contribute to making prime grapes.
Azienda Agricola Scala
The Grapes
Calabria is mostly known for producing red wines and majority are made from the gaglioppo grape.  Unfortunately a lot of the grapes of the region are shipped north and is probably part of the reason that this region hasn't gotten the attention it deserves with its native grapes as it should.

There are 12 DOC's of the region with the leader being Ciro DOC.  Its been said that the wines of Ciro were served to winners of the Olympic games in ancient times. 

The Wine
2015 Azienda Agricola Scala Ciro Classico Superiore
Yes that is snow already in northern NH
I tried the 2015 Azienda Agricola Scala Ciro Rosso Classico  Superiore made from 100% of the gaglioppo grape.  It's fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in concrete.  More garnet in color with tinges of orange on the rim.  Medium-bodied with red dried fruits, mostly cherry, and toasty notes with baking spices.  Low to moderate tannin with a lengthy finish. I found this to be quite an interesting wine with lots of complexities. At this price point it's well worth trying.  The Calabrians food fare tends to be on the spicier side so grape a bottle and seek out some nduja, a spicy sausage spread.
ABV 13.5% SRP $14-16

Join us this Saturday November 3rd on Twitter at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT as we chat about the wines of Calabria.  Join the rest of my fellow bloggers as they share some great Calabrian wines and foods to be enjoyed.

Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Cam will share “Braised Beef Cheeks over Garlic Gnocchi + Statti Calabria Gaglioppo 2015”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm will share “The Food and Wine of Calabria”
Lauren at The Swirling Dervish will share “Exploring Calabrian Wine: The Du Cropio Estate in CirĂ²”
Jeff at Food Wine Click will share “Exploring the Toe of Italy’s Boot with Ciro Rosso”
Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will share “A New Golden Age for the Gaglioppo in Calabria”

*Pictures copyright of Azienda Agricola Scala

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