Calabrian Calibration

12 Jul

To the land let the grape (and training, and rootstock, and winemaking, and more) be suited. I recently got a tasting of an assortment of Calabrian wines made by Librandi, and from what I learned, this winery is a studious one, putting their glasses on, pulling their hair up, living in sensible dark sweaters and black skirts and combat boots–whoa my studious vision dream of this winery as a human became a goth librarian but you get where I’m going–they get deep into researching the native grapes and diving into micro-terroirs. Considering history. Considering land. As one does.

Their resulting wines, I do believe, reflect the studies. AKA they are balanced wines. This straight-laced goth librarian who maybe isn’t gonna rip her bun out and tear her sweater off and fishnets–more like she may get caught with her hair down, and she’s not going wild, but you see her brains are part of her beauty…holy shit have I watched too many rom-coms and is this metaphor even relevant?

Anyway.

The wines I tasted deserved a place at the table, which, given my experience with Calabria (putting it out there I was in the Veneto recently I would LOVE to make it to the south of Italy universe do you hear me) was a discovery.

Like, how had I not retained some memory of what comes out of Calabria? I honestly had so little experience with the region. I had surely read about it studying for my WSET Diploma…but it’s hard to retain all the details I cram in my brain-damaged brain for those exams. So I went to the small map of Italy on my wall where I’d annotated regions I hadn’t devoted an entire map of their own to.

I’ve been slacking. Calabria had no notes. Nor any single region maps of their own, whereas regions like Piemonte and the Veneto got annotated on the Italy map and with maps all their own. Shame.

Kiddos this is my review of Librandi. I can’t say yet that it stands for Calabria as a whole but it’s what I get from them. Of whom I’m overwhelmingly on the positive side of.

First, a few particulars .

Calabria is the toe and arch of the Italy if like pretty much anyone, Italy looks like a boot to you. It’s more of a 19th century boot than a goth boot or do the two overlap? It matters not. It’s southern Italy.

There are seas on either side Tyrrhenian and Ionian. Cirò is the main DOC.

It looks like it is giving Sicily the boot, which I would never do–I love Sicilian wine–but what do I know, maybe it is giving Sicily a love kick. I don’t judge landforms’ lifestyles.

There were grapes of the region I DO NOT know. Gaglioppo, Maglioppo, Mantonico and Greco Bianco. I must be honest I drank the bottle of Greco Bianco with a gentleman friend and we loved it so much we crushed it without me taking scholarly notes but I feel like the passion that courses through Italian wine would be okay with that. But I made sure to be scholarly with the next bottle made from a native grape!

Librandi Duca Sanfelice Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore DOC 2019 100% Gaglioppo, a grape whose acquaintance I would like to make more of. The aromatics barrel out of the glass ripe black raspberries, regular blackberries, a smidge of cola–or is that tea?–and also spice, like if cloves and chervil had a love-child. It is bright, with medium gently nubbly tannins and a smidge of roses and lilacs and friendly dirt to it. It finishes with fresh fruit and, oddly enough, a touch of leather. Quite a pleasant ride.

And then there were the fun fun times with “International” varieties I do know.

Librandi Critone Calabria Bianco IGT 2021 Yayyyy Chardonnay (90%)/Sauvignon Blanc (10%) blend. Grown on limestone and clay loam. Super lemony and wet stone-washed stone (is that a thing?) nose. On the palate still stony, still sunny, more of a Meyer lemon curd vibe–it’s got a richness while remaining chiffon pie lightness.

And lastly the wines that blended local with international. A boot to fit all feet. So to speak. I should stop pushing this boot metaphor. Combat or not.

Librandi Tenuta Arcidiaconano Gravello Calabria ICT 2019 The balance of it all. Toasty. Not super complex. But ripe and rich bueberry centric and still ripe not too much ripe. Honestly if blind-tasted I would think it was a well-behave red blend, Cabernet-based, perhaps from, I dunno, Washington? All black currant to the max, hints of herbs and cigar box and tobacco fun. But not overly. Fresh over all.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I’m excited. In particular by the Greco Bianco and Gaglioppo wines as I don’t know those grapes well. But the quality was high across the board with Librandi. I need to get to southern Italy and taste it, boots on the ground.

Oh that was unintentional boot referencing but my subconscious is strong. Goth on. Try Calabria.

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