Calabria Rocks!


Is Cirò Italy's next big wine?

Cirò is the kind of wine place I want to root for.

This ancient Calabrian wine region in sun-baked southern Italy offers a gorgeous countryside of ancient olive trees and undulating vineyards planted with a unique and often-misunderstood red grape—Gaglioppo. What's more, a new generation of winemakers is working to turn Cirò from a backwater to an appellation worthy of our attention.

"It's a moment of foment," says 40-year-old enologist and local producer Cataldo Calabretta, walking through a freshly plowed clay-limestone hillside vineyard.

Cirò, located in the ball of the foot of the Italian boot, encompasses some 5,000 acres of vineyards that stretch from the hillside-perched medieval village of Cirò down to the Ionian Sea where the tacky, modern coastal town of Cirò Marina sits. Though Cirò does produce white wines and some unusually dark rosés, most of the vineyards are planted to Gaglioppo—a highly tannic grape that's been genetically linked to Sangiovese.

Up until recently, Cirò was known as a hub for growers who sold grapes throughout the region for home winemaking. That and some not-very-exciting supermarket wines.

But in recent years, a younger generation at larger producers, such as Librandi and Vincenzo Ippolito, has turned to producing better wines in smaller the full blog (free) at