For this week’s Wine Wednesday I am featuring Ippolito wines that I tasted two months ago at the Gambero Rosso tasting in March. Each year that event is a best seller and this year it seemed to be even more so. Luckily I got there early and got to taste some great wines like the three from Ippolito 1845. I had first tasted these wines years ago during the Opera Wine tasting in Verona.
Ippolito is the oldest winey in Calabria and is located in Cirò Marina. They have 100 hectares and both hills and plains in their property. The plains run to the Ionia Sea. The winery is focused on indigenous grapes which of course is right up my alley. I learned about a new grape from them too, Pecorello. They also grown the classic grapes you find in Calabria such as Gaglioppo, Greco Bianco, and Calabrese. In addition to Pecorello, they grow Greco Nero which I don’t think I have ever tasted.
Lots of history in this winery of long standing. Founded in 1845 by Vincenzo Ippplito, After World War I, his grandson, Don Vincenzo Ippoluto comes back to the winery and starts to bring it into being with modern technologies such as underground cellars. By 1930s, the Ippolito family was experimenting with wooden chestnut barrels. Ippolito begins bottling his wines in the 1940s and in the 1950s has a bottled Ciró Rosso and Ciró Riserva.
First denomination for Cirò begins with the Ippolito family heavily involved in the 1960s. The family begins working heavily on mechanizing harvest. Through the next decades much happens and eventually they produce Colli del Mancuso Cirò Riserva,: the first Cru of Calabria, in 1989. First awards come in 1980s. Sadly one of the two brothers runing passes away, Antonio. In the 1990s, the winery began research on Gaglioppo with a university to understand the varietal. Today the fifth generation runs the winery.
I was lucky to taste a white, a rosê, and a still red wine. The white wine is called Pecorello and it was new to me. Apparently it is an ancient Calabrian variety that this winey has brought back. This is made in stainless steel and is a great sip for the Spring and Summer.
I loved the Rosé, Mabilia Cirò DOC Rosé. Apparently, Mabilia was a Norman princess in the XI century with a magical story that takes place in the Crotonian Marchesato land. The wine is made with Gaglioppo (100%). Selected grapes, skin maceration for 24 hours at controlled temperature. Bright fruit and acidity, clean and minerally, the wine was bright, fresh, and elegant on the nose and palate. I wish I had a case at home now for the Spring season.
The third wine I tried was a single vineyard made from Gaglioppo. The grapes are picked in October and undergo a long maceration on the skins and aging in oak for 12 months. All that siad, the wine was not opulent nor out of place.
Aromas and flavors tended towards darker fruit or more mature fruit. Loads of spice and verve with well-integrated tannins and alcohol. A long finish completed the picture of this beauty.
I loved visiting Calabria when I went years ago and would love to go back. A land of intense beauty, vibrant personalities, spicy food, and amazing wines made from indigenous varieties. Until I get back there, this virtual travel through my glass is a good way to remember the sea and the mountains in this region of contrasts.
I am familiar with a Calabrian winery – Cantina Enotria. Their Roots brand wines are named by number, representing markers along the beaches and road. You definitely don’t see many Calabrian wines here in the US so this post really made me smile!
Thank you so much for reading. It is true there are fewer wines from Calabria here than other regions. I loved the line-up from Ippolito. I have also tasted the wines from Cantina Enotria too, I remember some years ago. Glad to bring a smile to your face.