Italian Indigenous Grapes: Greco Bianco From Calabria

Bronze di Riaci

This week’s indigenous variety from Italy is Greco Bianco, not to be confused with Greco di Tufo which I wrote about in my last post in this series. This grape which hails from Calabria, from the provinces of Catanzaro and Reggio Calabria. The thinking about this variety is that it arrived on the Italian peninsula from Greece.

It is usually used in a dried version to make what are known as “vini liquorosi” or fortified wines. As it is a white grape, the wines are golden in color thanks to the “appassimento” or drying of the grapes. It is usually used on its own or blended with other white grapes such as Montonico and Guardavalle for sweet or semi-sweet wines and is sometimes added to a blend with Gaglioppo to make rose wines. It is part of various DOC denominations in Calabria such as Bivongi, Donnici, Greco di Bianco, Melissa, San Vito di Luzzi, Scavigna and Verbicaro.

I have written about a few wineries in Calabria over the past years. I also was lucky enough to do one very long tasting at Vinitaly some years ago with wines from a certain area in Calabria, Terre di Cosenza DOC.

I visited Calabria a couple of times only when I lived in Italy. Once I went all the way to Reggio to see some of the most beautiful men I have ever seen, the Bronze di Riace that are in the picture above. What incredible statues and quite worth the trip. Calabria has much to recommend it and is largely undiscovered for me. I look forward to future trips to this most Southern region of Italy where everything seems quite intense and spicy.

Check out this wonderful post by my friend Alfonso Cevola about his Calabrian roots.

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