Friday, January 10, 2020

The Forgotten Grapes of Calabria: Gaglioppo of Ceraudo with Salsiccia

When presented with the theme for our Wine Pairing Weekend group to feature Godforsaken Grapes this month by our host, Camilla, I was overwhelmed.  As we all know Italy has plenty of varietals almost extinct or barely given recognition.  Without having read the book I went out on a limb and chose an Italian wine region rather hidden from the wine scene and a grape not flooding the market.  Just what I love! 

The Region ~ Calabria 
Calabria is at the south western tip of the boot in Italy.  Calabria was where the Greeks first landed when they came to southern Italy, therefore naming it “oenotria”, the land of wine.  The Greeks played a crucial role in establishing the vineyards and wine industry there before the Roman and further invasions.  Although most of the wine has always been sold as bulk wine Calabria is a region that is further experimenting and focusing on quality with a promising future.       

Calabria is a terrain dominated mostly by mountains and hills and is almost completely surrounded by water, a key aspect affecting the wine production.  Providing sea breezes and fluctuations between day and night temperatures, the sea creates the ideal situation for grapes growth.   

The Winery ~ Azienda Agricola Ceraudo 
Located in the Val di Neto appellation in the Strongoli Marina territory, Roberto Ceraudo started his winery from nothing planting vineyards and renovating the farmhouse back in the 70’s.  He originally started out selling his grapes to a cooperative until 1990 when he decided to release his first vintages.  

The Ceraudo winery occupies about 150 acres with almost 50 of those dedicated to vines along with olive groves and citrus.  They became certified organic in 1991 setting an example for the Calabrian wine industry.  I loved this quote on their site regarding their take towards producing wines with chemicals and caring for the land.  “Nature cannot be controlled, it can only be humoured. But to do this you need to know it very well.  And you can come to know it only by loving it”       

Today Roberto still manages the property along with his three children Giuseppe, Susy and Caterina.  They host a Michelin star restaurant, Dattilo, run by his daughter Caterina whom was named in 2017 as “top female chef” by the Michelin Guide of Italy.     

The Grape ~ Gaglioppo 
About 80-90% of the wines from Calabria are red and the gaglioppo grape takes over the majority of the acreage.  Gaglioppo is a native grape with Greek origins.  The name gaglioppo means “beautiful foot” and refers to the shape of the grape clusters.  It produces wines ruby red in color higher in both acidity and tannin. 

The Wine ~ Dattilo 
The 2013 Ceraudo Dattilo Val di Noto IGT  
Made of 100% gaglioppo.  I loved the nose on this wine, intense notes of black licorice with cherries and spice.  Medium to fuller bodied, structured wine backed with great acidity, moderate tannin, rich in cherries.  A persistent, lingering finish.  This wine was aged 24 months in barrel with an additional year in the bottle. SRP $18
2013 Ceraudo Dattilo Rosso Gaglioppo
The Pairing 
Even though I’m a part time wine blogger I’m first and foremost a mom and satisfying the kids and getting them to eat is a priority.   Also quite the challenge lately.  It works perfect that my kids love sausages because in tasting this wine I figured this sausage, salsiccia, dish would be a great pairing.  It’s a locally made broccoli and cheese chicken sausage that I cooked with some broccoli in a simple aglio olio sauce over some brown rice.  Although, when I finished the rest of the wine the next night when I made a classic homemade meatball and pasta dish I have to say that stole the show.  There is nothing like a good Italian red with some homemade sauce to warm the heart.   
food pairing with gaglioppo salsicciapairing with Calabrian gaglioppo

Learn about the rest of the unforgotten grapes with a great group of food and wine writers below.  You can chat with us live this Saturday on Twitter at #WinePW @ 11am. 


*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are all my own.  The importer is Mariposa Fine Wine & Spirits.  


  1. Nothing like a pasta dish to satisfy the kids and a bottle of wine to satisfy the mom! Good job. Cin cin, Jen.

  2. We had so many countries and regions covered in this month's event. I really enjoyed learning about all the different varietals that we don't normally come across.

  3. Your meals look fantastic. Both of these grapes are new to me. Thank you for the introduction

  4. So many wines so little time! This meal looks fantastic. Even without kiddos, relatively easy meals are always a lifesaver. Will be on the lookout for these.

  5. Learn a new grape today. Love the pasta and sausage rice dishes!

  6. Fascinating post on Calabrian godforsaken grapes. I totally agree on the value of good Italian reds and homemade sauce!

  7. Thanks for the introduction to gaglioppo. It sound like a grape variety I would enjoy! This wine looks like very good value, and i love the pairing!