First vineyards in Calabria appeared thanks to the Oenotrians(“tribe led by Oenotrus” or “people from the land of vines – Οἰνωτρία”) and later by ancient Greeks. Testimony of Greek-Calabrian relationship is Ciro wine. Some legends say that Greek gods were consuming this wine during the Olympic games. Ciro wine is still made in the same way as it was during ancient times.
Olive and orange groves make the Calabrian landscape characteristic and unique. Calabria has more than 700 kilometers of coastline and is situated between two seas: the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea. For nature lovers and beachgoers, it is a true paradise.
Vineyards in Calabria wine region covers only Only about 9 000 hectares But nevertheless, the viticulture in Calabria is something special as well as the experiences you can find there. In no other area have so many indigenous varieties been preserved as here.
The wine region of Calabria has 9 DOCs and 11 IGT areas spread into the following provinces:
The red wines, as more suitable for the climate, occupy 90% of the area. Red wines of the reagion are mainly coming from the Gaglioppo grape variety.
The wine region of Calabria is dominated by indigenous red grape variety Gaglioppo. In the wake of the growing interest in the wines of southern Italy, the stock of the variety Magliocco also increases. The white wines are usually made from a variety of Greco Bianco.
Talking about Calabrian wines, one should definitely mention Ciro, which is known as one of the oldest wines. Ciro wine, made from indigenous Gaglioppo grapes, is full-bodied, tannic wine and displays strong fruity flavours.
The small amount of Ciro Bianco and Rosato is also produced. Ciro Bianco should contain at least 80% of Greco Bianco grape variety. As for Rosato, It’s production process is similar to red Ciro.
Climate and soils: Calabria wine region is characterised by warm summers and cold winters and large temperature fluctuations between day and night, which bring elegance to the wines. Alluvial land dominates the river valleys inland, as well as limestone and loamy soils such as the rock of volcanic origin, which gives the wines a fine minerality.
After 3-4 years of ageing, Ciro Bianco can be a very unusually fine and elegant white wine, which then belongs to one of the best in southern Italy.
Grape varieties of Calabria wine region
Red grape varieties:
White grape varieties:
The winery Statti is using, among other things, Gaglioppo and Greco to produce their wine. They are also producers of excellent quality olive oil and milk.
Because of the warm and mild climate, some growers are also experimenting with international varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The expansion of wines in small oak barrels to international standards is also enjoying increasing interest.
Discover the wineries you can visit in Calabria
Wineries in Calabria wine region offer authentic experiences of the locality. Here together with wines that express the essence of the terroirs, you will be able to taste local gastronomical specialities and enjoy breathtaking landscapes.
Already the name Tropea exudes pure holiday feeling. The little 6,300-inhabitant town is a popular holiday resort on the coast to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Imagine a small place in the south, the sun is shining, a light breeze is blowing around your nose. Walking through the narrow streets, you will pass old pastel-colored houses that all tell their own story.
Perched on the cliffs is the Cathedral of Santa Maria dell’ Isola. Delightful cafés, restaurants, boutiques and market stalls string together, from the distance you can hear the sound of the sea.
The city was built on a steep cliff of sandstone and offers you a fantastic backdrop. The Santa Maria dell’ Isola, perched on the cliffs by the sea, exudes its own special charm. The ascent on the sandstone cliffs is worthwhile not only to admire the architecture but also the view. From here you, have the best view on Tropea, the beautiful gardens of Santa Maria dell’ Isola and the enchanting Mediterranean beaches.
Le Castella – a charming castle surrounded by turquoise sea
On the Ionian coast, Isola Capo Rizzuto is one of the most interesting places. A real gem is the district of Le Castella with its Aragonese fort, built into the sea and just a few meters from the beach. The origin of the name of this place is bound to the fortress, which traces back to the era of Greater Greece. The beaches are just a few meters from the old building, making every swim in the sea a unique experience.
Tip: enjoy an aperitif at sunset with a view of the illuminated fortress
Capo Vaticano – where lonely beaches wait for you
In the South of Tropea is the Capo Vaticano. Even if it sounds like that, the place has nothing to do with the Vatican. An oracle that the Greeks visited during their occupation of Calabria, was named after the place.
It is best to hire a small boat at Capo Vaticano to discover the various bays and beaches. The rocky bay Praia I Focu is a real insider tip for you. Since it is only accessible via the water, not too many tourists come here. With a little luck, you have the little paradise for you alone. The water shimmers here in all blue colours and is crystal clear – perfect for diving and snorkelling!
Boat trip to the Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands is an archipelago of 7 inhabited volcanic islands between Sicily and Calabria. The island of Stromboli is the most active and constantly fire-breathing volcano in Europe, visible from Calabria’s west coast. The impressive natural spectacle can be observed from the land or the sea, and a visit is definitely worthwhile. From the port of Tropea, boats start for full or half-day trips several times a week, and the crossing to Stromboli takes about 1.5 hours.
During the full-day excursion except the island Stromboli, the two islands Lipari and Vulcano are approached. On the half-day trip to Stromboli, the popular “Stromboli by Night Tour” you have the opportunity to explore the beautiful old town of the island and then admire in the evening from the sea the spectacular eruptions of the volcano.
Silia Nationalpark – where you find multifaceted nature
150.000 hectares of unique natural beauty: this is the Sila plateau that stretches along the provinces of Cosenza, Crotone, and Catanzaro in Calabria. It is the oldest National Park in Calabria and one of the top 5 in Italy. This is an area that, despite the unspoiled and wild nature, attracts visitors even with small characteristic villages and the opportunity to practice many outdoor sports. This land of a thousand possibilities is a treasure chest of emotions throughout the year.
Tip: In the forests of the Sila, one can make several-day hikes, as well as collecting mushrooms, chestnuts, and wild berry. Alternatively, to hiking, you can rent bikes or enjoy a ride along the many paths.
The national park of Aspromonte
In the National Park of Aspromonte, nature has taken over the rule, with peaks that reach 2000 meters. The National Park of Aspromonte has a very jagged structure of the area, from the Tyrrhenian to the Ionian Sea and offers a wide variety of plant species, which, due to favourable climatic conditions, produces great biodiversity.
It is not difficult to see foxes, rabbits, badgers, hedgehogs, weasels, and martens here. The park is full of beautiful nature trails and some of them are very suitable for cycling and horseback riding or skiing and canyoning.
Let’s take a look at Calabrian gastronomy
Calabrian cuisine is down-to-earth and rural. Here grow artichokes, eggplants, tomatoes and citrus fruits. Numerous dishes are very linked to religious festivals.
In addition, in none of Calabria’s cuisine, the locally produced olive oil and the red sweet onion might be missed. Not to forget the red chilli, the ‘peperoncino’, which gives the dishes the strong, spicy taste.
Taste some of the local dishes together with Calabrian wines.
Peporonata – a typical summer dish
One of the typical dishes of this area is the Peperonata. Incidentally, this recipe has been prepared since the beginning of the 18th century. The ingredients of the Peperonata are as simple as they are tasty: potatoes, peppers, and aubergines, as well as a bit of tomato, sweet onion and basil for the sauce. Therefore, you should pay particular attention to the quality of the ingredients to conjure a really good Peperonata.
The peculiarity of this dish is that all the ingredients must be fried individually in the pan in the same oil, finally to unite in the end. This is time-consuming, but worth it anyway and is great for preparing a little more of it for the next few days. Do not let this delicacy miss your taste buds!
Crostata di ricotta e limone – The pie that tastes of summer and sun
From Calabria comes the shortcrust pastry with ricotta and lemons, which tastes of sun and summer with the lemon.
For this tasty cake, a short pastry bottom is baked first. For the delicious lemony filling, ricotta is mixed with lemon peel and juice, as well as eggs and sugar to create a delicious cream. The mixture is then distributed after a first baking time on the cake bottom and at the end garnished with lemon slices. Why not enjoy it together with a little Lemoncello?
Marmellata di Cipolle Rosse di Tropea
The original recipe for the Marmellata di Cipolle Rosse di Tropea is made with onions from Calabria.
Only if the onions come from there, it may also be referred to as Cipolla Rossa di Tropea IGP. These onions are larger than conventional red onions and also much sweeter. They are available in the classic elongated but also in a flat shape. For the jam, the red onions are cut into thin strips and boiled with sugar, honey, balsamic vinegar of Modena, bay leaves and sultanas. The jam goes well with grilled meat but also hard cheese like pecorino.
Most Frequently Asked Questions about Calabria Wine Region
1. Where is the Calabriawine region located?
Considering Italy’s map as a boot shape, Calabria would be the toe. Located in Southern Italy, the Calabria wine region sits between the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
2. What are the most famous sub-regions and appellations in Calabria?
Calabria is usually divided in 5 sub-regions according to its provinces Cosenza, Crotone, Catanzaro, Vibo Valentia, and Reggio di Calabria.
An important sub-region in Calabria is Cirò, which counts a major production of Gaglioppo.
There are 11 DOC appellation in the region, the main ones being Greco di Bianco, Bivongi, Domnici, and Isola di Capo Rizzuto.
3. What are the main grape varieties in Calabria?
The grapes most used to produce wine in Calabria are Gaglioppo, Greco, Trebbiano, Magliocco Canino, Aglianico and Nero d’Avola.
4. What is the best wine to try in Calabria?
The red wines from Cirò are something special in Calabria. Usually coming from the grape variety Gaglioppo, these wines often have fruity and spicy notes.
5. How does Gaglioppo from Calabria taste?
Gaglioppo is a red grape variety common in the region of Cirò and its wines often have fruity and spicy notes, pairing greatly typical Italian dishes.