Casa Librandi Ciro, “Duca di San Felice” Riserva, 2003, DOC, Calabria

Posted by Keith Wallace

The Ciro DOC is home to Gaglioppo, a vigorous grape known as “The Black Prince.” Genetically related to Sicilian Frappato, it was used in ancient times to make crimissa. Today it shows up in all eleven of Calabria’s red wine DOCs.

Gaglioppo does well in the calcareous soils and maritime Ionian climate of Ciro Marina, where the Librandi winery has been producing for over a century. The most recognized name in the region supports the propagation of terroir-specific native varietals, some of which are only grown in Calabria.

Their Ciro Riserva is 100% Gaglioppo, aged three years in the tank and another six months in bottle. Its ruby-brickish orange color resembles Nebbiolo, but the nose is all Mezzogiorno – jammy fruits, smoke, sharp spices such as fennel and cumin, and a leathery undertone.

The palate opens slowly to pepper and a gamey quality that evolves into a subtle finish of mildly sweet fig and pomegranate supported by dark berries. Rustic, yes, but with a finesse that elevates it several steps above a farmhouse wine.

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