In recent years, Calabria has made a big splash with its wines.
The Gaglioppo grape, which is grown in the east of Calabria in Cirò on the coast, has found a number of new fans, in part thanks to the wonderful expressions of Gaglioppo imported by Vitis.
But there’s another major Calabrian grape variety that has yet to find its way into the limelight: Magliocco (pronounced mah-lyee-OHK-kah).
Where Gaglioppo tends to be tannic and “big” in style, Magliocco is lighter in body and its red fruit flavors tend to be brighter and more ripe.
But the thing that really sets Magliocco apart is the fact that it is grown in Calabria’s mountainous area, often at 200-300 meters above sea level.
The soils in those hills are not sandy like the soils along the coast where Gaglioppo is grown.
The vineyards found in Catanzaro province lie atop ancient limestone and clay subsoils. And that is what gives Magliocco its deep flavor and minerality.
And the higher elevations make it easy for the growers and winemakers to retain the acidity and freshness they want.
The Cantine Lento Dragone (above) is actually a blend of Magliocco, Greco Nero, and Nerello grown at 250 meters above sea level in limestone and clay soil.
We chilled down a bottle the other night to cellar temperature and it was juicy and delicious, with wonderful aromas of red fruit and spice on the nose and chewy, grapey fruit flavors and minerality on the palate.
A lovely, food-friendly wine, with balanced alcohol, perfect for our summertime grill of beef and chicken.
A fantastic wine and a fantastic value.
There’s no doubt in our minds that Magliocco has all the right stuff to become the next big thing out of southern Italy.
Below: Lamezia Terme, where Cantine Lento grows its grapes and makes its wines, is an ancient hilltop hamlet.