Calabrian Wine – Not just Ciro’

When I see a wine from Calabria that is not Ciro’, I get really excited. The other night, I found one at Accademia di Vino in New York, surprisingly on their by the glass list. It was from the Savuto and I must say, I was really impressed. Savuto is an area between the cities of Cosenza and Catanzaro which boasts a DOC, one of 12 in the region. Located in the toe of the Italian boot and is often overlooked as a wine region. A very small percentage of the region is dedicated to viticulture. Most of their wines are red. This Savuto Odoardi 2003 was immediately big on the palate with black fruit flavors, followed by notes of wood, vanilla, and cedar that then gave way to chocolate and tar. It was very persistent and well-integrated. Definitely a food wine, I wished that I had ordered a delicious pasta with sausage instead of lighter fare. Calabrian food is generally very spicy and can see how this wine would pair very well with the local cuisine. The prinicipal grape in Savuto is gaglioppo with smaller percentages of Greco Nero, Nerello Cappuccio, Magliocco Canino and Sangiovese.

The wine was very elegant and when I discovered that it was made by well-known Italian enologist Stefano Chiccioli, I was not surprised. He is a consultant to many wineries in both France and Italy and has a very specific style. I have met Stefano on occasion and tasted a number of wines that he made for the Marchesi Ginori Lisci. My favorite is the Castello Ginori, a Cabernet and Merlot blend from the Maremma. In an effort to be transparent, I must note that I often work with the Ginori importer so I will say no more. Check out Dancing Bear Cellars if you want any further information on that producer.

Calabria often gets a bad rap because it is associated with the Ndrangheta or local organized crime syndicate. I have spent little time in Calabria except to visit two of the most beautiful statues in the world, Le Bronze di Riace. Two larger than life bronze gods that are now housed in the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia museum in Reggio Calabria. I could hardly tear myself away from them. In fact, I organized an entire trip around these two stunning examples of greek warriors. The sculptures were found by a scuba diver off the Calabrian coast in the 1970s. What a find! It’s hard to understand why it took so long to undercover these sculptures from 400 BC. If you go there, you’ll see what I mean. The waters off the coast of Reggio, near Scilla, the home of a monster in Greek mythology, were some of the clearest I have seen anywhere in Italy, including Sardegna, no small feat. The sea, the food and wine and those two gods make Reggio an interesting place to visit.


  1. I agree that the Bronzi are worth the visit to Reggio (ugly city by the way…).
    Thanks for the suggestion of an unknown wine to me and regards from Verona.
    p.s. – I reached your blog via Terry’s Mondosapore

  2. Hi Susannah,
    on occasion: try to taste the Colacino Wines from Savuto! Great Wines! They picked up Lorenzo Landi as winemaker.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.