Calabria is at the toe of the boot, the extreme south of Italy.
Calabria is a non-industrial rural mountainous region. Its economy is dependent on cereals, citrus and particularly olives, with the per-capita income less than half the national average. Called Enotria by the Greeks in pre-Roma times for it’s illustrious vinous past, today viticulture and wine making are far from the vital industries they once were and account for a tiny proportion of land use.
Calabria has 12 Denominazione di Origine (DOC) areas and 12 Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designations. Only 4 % of yearly production is classified as DOC wine. Over 90% of the region’s wine production is red, with a large portion made from the Gaglioppo grape, grown mostly in the warmer coastal areas. Other promising varietals from dedicated wineries are the white Mantonico and Greco Bianco.
Mantonico is a naturally tannic white grape variety that is very versatile, making either dry wines or sweet wines. This varietal is both highly acidity and tannic, and not viewed as aromatic.
The Greco grape is very recognizable due to its extremely opulent appearance and bright yellow berries. The wine’s typical aromas and flavors include yellow flowers, honey, peach, pear and ripe tropical fruit; enjoyable when young.
Gaglioppo’s name is derived from a Greek word meaning “beautiful foot,” because the bunches are pink, plump and very appealing. Gaglioppo is an ancient red grape varietal that produces wines that are full bodied, high in alcohol and tannins, and quite ageworthy.
The winters are mild, with average temperatures around 10°C, rarely dropping below 5°C. The climate near the coast is very hot and dry throughout most of the year. The majority of the region's wine production occurs in the central areas of the eastern and western coastlines. Calabrian cuisine comes from an impoverished tradition with a strong religious side, where dishes were very rich in flavor and spiciness that requires a full red wine for digestion.