Italian Wine Series: Part 3-The Wines of Calabria
The Greeks seem to have been the first to introduce the wine grape varieties and winemaking techniques to Calabria. The indigenous people became so adept in the art of vine cultivation and fermentation that soon the wines produced in the colony were considered better than the ones made in Greece. The area was then called Enotria or Land of Wine.
Following are DOC regions:
Bianco- The DOC of Greco di Bianco is one of the few predominant white wine regions in Calabria. The area produces most sweet wine from the Greco Bianco grape that have alcohol contents of at least 17%. The wines are typically produced as straw wines with the grapes being partially dried prior to pressing and fermentation. Greco di Bianco is characterized by a deep amber color and aromas of citrus and herbs.
Bivongi-The DOC of Bivongi is one of Calabria's newest DOCs and produces red and rosé wines from blends of Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, Nocera, Castiglione and Calabrese. The few white wines made in this region are dry wines made from a blend of Greco Bianco, Guardavalle, Mantonico Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Ansonica as well as up to 30% of other available white grape varieties.
Donnici- The Domnici DOC is located south of Cosenza on the wester slopes of the the La Sila plateau. The production is mainly red wine made from Gaglioppo with some blending of Greco Nero and Mantonico Nero.
Isola di Capo Rizzuto- The DOC of Sant'Anna di Isola di Capo Rizzuto is located south of commune of Melissa. The region was once an island but overtime the marshland around it filled in and connected the region to the mainland. The DOC produces dry red and rosé wines from Gaglioppo, Nocera, Nerello Mascalese (and the related Nerello Cappuccio), and up to 35% of added Malvasia and Greco Bianco.
Lamezia Terme- The DOC of Lamezia is located on the plains and hill side regions around the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia near the Sant'Eufemia d'Aspromonte along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The region is very warm, allowing the grapes to fully ripen and develop body and alcohol levels. The region produces red and rosé wines from Gaglioppo, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Greco Nero, Magliocco and Marsigliana. The white wines from the region are made from Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano.
Melissa-The Melissa DOC is located south of Cirò and produces wines of similar style, though not with the same international reputation of quality. The red wine grapes of the region are the Gaglioppo and Greco Nera with some blending of the white wine grapes Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano.
Pollino- The Pollino DOC is named for the nearby mountain range that forms part of the Apennines. Located near the border with Basilicata, the region produces pale, cherry red wines that need 2-3 years to develop. The wines are made primarily with Gaglioppo and Greco Nero with up to 20% of white grape varieties permitted in the blend.
San Vito di Luzzi- The DOC of San Vito di Luzzi is located in the hamlet of San Vito near the commune of Luzzi. The red and rosé wines from this region are produced with Gaglioppo, Malvasia Nera, Greco Nero and Sangiovese. The white wines are produced from Malvasia Bianca, Greco Bianco and up to 40% of other local white wine varieties.
Savuto- The Savuto DOC is located south of the Donnici region in mountainous terrain that stretches to the coast. The vineyards located closer to the interior are cooler than other parts of Calabria, producing wines with lower alcohol levels. The red and rosé wines from this region are produced with Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, Nerello Cappuccio, Magliocco, Sangiovese and up to 25% of the white wine grapes Malvasia Bianca and Pecorello.
Scavigna- The Scavigna DOC is located south of Savuto on the western coast of Calabria. The dry red and rosé wines from this region are made with at least 60% Gaglioppo and Nerello Cappuccio with a blend of other local red wine varieties. The white wines are blend of Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Greco Bianco and Malvasia Bianca.
Verbicaro- The DOC are of the Verbicaro region are located in the Pollino foothills, west of Pollino DOC region and extends to the Tyrrhenian coast. The dry dry red and rosé wines from this region are made from Gaglioppo and Greco Nero with a small amount of the white wine grapes Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Guarnaccia Bianca blended in. Those same white grapes also produces the limited amount of Verbicaro Bianco.