On the Road of Calabrian Wines

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On the Road of Calabrian Wines

Calabria was once called Enotria. Yes, precisely the Land of Wine. This is because the southernmost region of the Italian peninsula was immediately considered an ideal place to continue the ancient tradition of the Greeks. Over the centuries, this art has become increasingly refined, so much so as to guarantee the Doc, Docg, and Igt labels to the productions that offer precious nectar of the Gods to its consumers.


Bivongi wine is among the youngest in the region, as it only obtained the Doc recognition in 1996. It is produced on the eastern slope of the Serre Mountains, near the municipalities of Bivongi, Caulonia, Monasterace, Riace, and Stilo. In short, near the Reggio Ionico and the lower Catanzaro. Bivongi, in particular, lies at the foot of Mount Consolino, where the vine has found its home since ancient times. The urban nucleus is very suggestive, full of narrow streets, stairs, and staircases. The village, still active today, was in the past one of the most famous for the many activities that flourished there. The inhabitants were silk artisans, but also dedicated to the processing of metals and stone, to the production of electricity, and to the extraction of molybdenum. Bivongi is also known for having been a destination, even before the 10th century, for monks from the East who fled, with their icons, from the iconoclastic laws issued by Emperor Leo the Isaurian.


Cirò wine is the best-known Calabrian wine worldwide. It was the first to obtain the controlled designation of origin from the European Union, but it is also the oldest of all. It directly derives from the famous Krimisa. It was produced on the Ionian coast by the ancient Achaean peoples. It was, one could say, the wine of Magna Graecia. The Cirò vineyards are cultivated on the rugged and dry soils of the province of Crotone. Production intensifies between the municipalities of Cirò, Cirò Marina, Crucoli, Melissa, and Rocca di Neto. The particular exposure and the presence of the sea nearby give the cultivated grapes a characteristic thickness of the berries, with a very dark color and very fleshy skin. Every summer, the evenings when all the wineries exhibit their products in the historic centers of the villages are renowned. Thousands of tourists refresh their heat until late at night enjoying the reds, whites, and rosés produced.


Donnici wine is what distinguishes the province of Cosenza the most and is “old” as the Cirò wine concerning the Doc designation received from the EU. The vines that characterize its quality grow kissed by the Bruttian sun in the upper valley of the Crati river. They run downhill between the western slopes of the Sila and the eastern side of the Coastal Chain. They are located at altitudes between 400 and 800 meters above sea level. This position, near the Sila Plateau, offers a particular microclimate. The average humidity and strong night and seasonal temperature variations activate a process that makes the berries unique. Despite the climatic differences that can be observed between the different altitudes, local cultivations appear homogeneous in terms of agronomic characteristics and yield. Every year in Donnici (a hamlet of Cosenza), the famous “Grape Festival” takes place, lasting three days. It is a weekend entirely dedicated to wine and local typical products. Within the walls and streets of the village, there are a series of murals dedicated to the moments of the harvest and celebrating the wine tradition of Calabria.


The production area of Lamezia wine develops between the western slopes of the Reventino Massif and the Tyrrhenian coast. The vineyards are located at altitudes between 200 and 400 meters above sea level. The municipalities involved are part of the so-called Piana di Sant’Eufemia. There are nine and all fall within the province of Catanzaro, among which Gizzeria, Falerna, Maida, San Pietro a Maida, Pianopoli, and, precisely, Lamezia Terme. This urban center, which groups together the inhabited centers of Sant’Eufemia, Nicastro, and Sambiase, is the narrowest point of the Boot, between the two seas, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian. Lamezia takes its name from the Lamato river, followed by Terme due to the presence of spas in the Caronte area, already known in the time of the Greeks and Romans and still used for healing purposes today.


In the municipalities of Civita, Frascineto, Castrovillari, Saracena, and Cassano allo Ionio, Pollino wine is produced, which has long enjoyed the Doc denomination granted by the European Union. At the foot of the Pollino, one of the highest peaks in Calabria, the climate experiences strong temperature variations, although it does not particularly affect the vines. To these, in fact, an adequate water supply is equally guaranteed. Saracena is the nerve center of this sort of production chain. Located in the National Park, the municipality is built around the baronial castle. The urban center is characterized by alleys of Islamic design. Tradition tells that the beautiful village descends from ancient Sestio, a city founded by the Enotri in 1744 B.C. In the 9th century, conquered by the Saracens, it became their colony.

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