Italian Indigenous Varieties: Gaglioppo from Calabria

For this Wine Wednesday, I am posting this article I wrote 6 years ago about Gaglioppo. I am definitely due for a visit after all this time. I just mentioned this grape yesterday on my IGTV in my Morning Grape series so it’s on my mind.


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It’s December, it’s snowing on my blog and it has been three months since I have written a post about an Italian indigenous variety. I have a good excuse, a beautiful three month old baby, but I do miss writing about all of the gems that Italy has to offer so here we go with the first grape that starts with a “G.” This grape which is now associated with Calabria is likely of Greek origin and may be genetically related to the Sicilian variety Frappato. This hearty grape variety produces full bodied wines that are somewhat tannic when young and can be called “rustic” at times. It is used in a variety of denominazione d’origine controllata (D.O.C.) wines from Ciro’, Bivongi, Donnici, Lamezia, Melissa, Savuto, Scaviglia and others. The grape can be made into a mono-varietal wine or blended with red or white varieties, according to the rules of…

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Women in Wine in Franciacorta: Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi

Happy Valentine’s Day. I am excited for an afternoon discussion on Franciacorta to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. I have a gorgeous bottle of Rose to open from this winery but I wanted to repost this article I wrote back in 2009 about them. Such memorable women and wines.


Some years ago I had the occasion to interview Pia Donata Berlucchi, CEO of Fratelli Berlucchi and President of Le Donne del Vino, an Italian association of women in wine started in 1988. She was extremely intelligent, very professional and really impressive with sharp and piercing blue eyes. I remember being a little intimidated by this tall woman from Lombardy in the interview. She was a real donna manager as they say in Italian, tough and practical. We spoke about what qualities women bring to the wine business and the difficulties that they sometimes face. I spoke with Pia Donata Berlucchi as part of a project that I have been working on for a number of years. She has been at the helm of her family company since 1977 and President of Le Donne del Vino since 2003. In 2008 she was given an award for female manager of…

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Emidio Pepe, An Iconic Winemaker From Abruzzo

I decided to repost this article I wrote many years ago about Emidio Pepe. Today I gave the second of two webinars on wines from Abruzzo. It was such a pleasure to spend time with these wines that I’ve been looking at all the times I have written about producers from Abruzzo. This amazing experience at Vinitaly tasting Emidio Pepe’s wines was a huge standout. HIs daughters today own the winery and two of his granddaughters now work in the winery as well. In the intervening years, I’ve also met Stefania Pepe, his third daughter. Truly a visionary, I loved reading my notes on his wines. I found all of that and more in the lovely Montepulciano wines I tasted over the last two days – black and red fruit, spice, minerals and lively acidity. Its great to fall in love again.


Pepe Family

The Pepe family has been making wine in Abruzzo since 1899. Emidio Pepe took over the winery in 1964 and has been promoting Montepulciano d’Abruzzzo ever since. His wines are made near the city of Teramo in a place called Torano Nuovo, very close to the border of the Marche region and not too distant from the shores of the Adriatic sea. The soils in that area are full of minerals and some lime which produces wines that have lively acidity and mineral notes. Acidity is crucial for the longevity of a wine and many of Pepe’s wines can age for years despite the fact that the wines are made organically and have been for decades. Organic wine making doesn’t allow the use of pesticides or substances that serve to conserve the wine and therefore it is somewhat rare to see older vintages.

Older Vintages of Emidio Pepe's Wines

The white grapes are actually still pressed…

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