ITALY | REGION PROFILE
The Undiscovered Jewel of the South
Calabria is the toe of Italy's boot and at its narrowest point it is only a few KMs from Sicily, across the Straits of Messina. The region has been synonymous with wine production prior to the time of the Greeks, notably by a tribe known as the Oenotri, the vine-cultivators, from around 1500 BC. The region has seen much turmoil through eras of invasion and occupation, with its politics and economy now strangled by the ever-present 'Ndrangheta, a particularly unpleasant syndicate of the Mafia. Despite its savage past, and present, it is a stunningly beautiful region surrounded by the azure waters of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas.
Only a small portion of the region's wine production is dedicated to DOC: its vast majority being sold as bulk wine. However, for the small amount that there is, much of it is of high quality and of sufficient local authenticity to merit Noble Grape's scrutiny. Even more so, there is one DOC that sets our passions aflame, namely Cirò. This DOC is a mere 370 hectares, noted for its distinctive, native variety - Gaglioppo - which bears a striking resemblance to Nebbiolo. There has been a resurgence of quality in this region, led by a small band of artisan producers, but also some half decent medium-sized producers, whose wines are not so difficult to find, with a little bit of searching. What are more difficult to happen across are the guys like Sergio Arcuri who is just about Noble Grape's favourite producer in the south of Italy.