Calabria’s best known wine region is Cirò, extending from the Ionian coast to the eastern foothills of La Sila with the classico zone centred around Cirò and Cirò Marina in the province of Crotone. Here, Gaglioppo is king. One of Italy’s oldest varieties, recent DNA studies have found that Gaglioppo is a natural crossing of Sangiovese and Mantonico. The name Gaglioppo is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘beautiful foot’, owing to its cherubic and plump ripe bunches.
Gaglioppo is a low colour variety and the wines often have an orange tinge, a factor that has, in the past, seen the wines blended with darker varieties such as Cabernet and Merlot. However, with renewed interest in Italy’s native grapes, Gaglioppo is taking centre stage and might just be the next Nerello. Ian D’Agata writes in Native Wine Grapes of Italy that “the best examples of Ciro or any monovarietal Gaglioppo wine, exude aromas of small red berries and citrus zest, with mineral and delicate underbrush notes that are not unlike a lighter, more saline Nebbiolo wine”.