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Librandi Ciro Rosso Classico Gaglioppo 1999
The Librandi winery is a modern enterprise founded in 1950 by Antonio and Nicodemo Librandi. Nowadays, the winery is run by Nicodemo, his two sons Paolo and Raffaele, his nephew Francesco and his niece Teresa. To this day, they remain faithful to the principles that inspired their forefathers: a great wine requires love and dedication to the land and its history. Librandi is located in Cirò Marina, a small town in the southern Italian region of Calabria (Italy’s boot tip), on the splendid Ionian coastline. The soil in this area is naturally suited for grape growing, and the geographic position, located between the sea and the Sila Mountains, guarantees an excellent balance between day and nighttime temperatures. All Librandi wines and olive oils are made exclusively from estate-grown grapes and olives. The Librandi family owns a total of 890 acres, 573 of which are vineyards, 247 are olive groves, and the remainding acres are dedicated to the forest. The vineyards are planted with both local varietals (Gaglioppo, Magliocco and Mantonico) and international varietals. Librandi also runs an experimental vineyard with ancient local varietals.
Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes grow in every region throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean. Naturally, most Italian regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate and a notable coastline, if not coastline on all borders, as is the case with the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
The Alps in the northern regions of Valle d'Aosta, Lombardy and Alto Adige as examples, create favorable conditions for cool-climate varieties, while the Apennine Mountains, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south, affect climate, grape variety and harvest periods throughout. Considering its variable terrain and conditions, it's still safe to say that most high quality viticulture in Italy takes place on picturesque hillsides.
Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but are declining in popularity, especially as younger growers take interest in reviving local varieties. Most important are Sangiovese, reaching its greatest potential in Tuscany and Nebbiolo, the prized grape of Piedmont, producing single varietal, age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Corvina, Montepulciano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course the whites, Pinot Grigio and Trebbiano. The list goes on.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.