Gaglioppo has been cultivated in Calabria, the toe of the boot, for literally thousands of years dating back to when this was Magna Graecia (greater Greece, before there WERE any Romans). It is soft and smooth like Burgundy or maybe older Rioja with a very savory character. We proudly present multiple bottlings from the oldest winery in the Cirò Classico zona, Ippolito 1845, ranging from a basic model light enough to serve with fish to a fantastic Riserva looking for a mixed grill plate and all the mushrooms you can muster.

Ippolito 1845, Cirò Marina Calabria

Cirò may be the oldest type of wine still in production, with roots back to pre-Roman days when this part of Italy was Magna Graecia (Greater Greece). Ippolito is the oldest cantina in the zona (founded in 1845) and is seriously dedicated to preserving the traditions of the zona yet is run by two young and very enthusiastic cousins from the current generation. The cantina makes a full range of wines but then takes the extraordinary step of retaining commercial quantities of their top Riserva for up to two decades before release while NOT charging a fortune for them when they do liberate them.

Ippolito Calabrise Rosso 2009, Calabria

Our notes from VinItaly: “This is a Calabrese take on Nero d’Avola (which is really Calabrese in both name and origin) grown in a cooler, higher elevation climate. The result is VERY deep in color and the bright red fruit reminded me of Teroldego (and the guys really liked it when I said that). For sure get a pile of this.”

 

Ippolito Cirò Classico Cirò Cirò 2006, Calabria

So, what is this? It’s Cirò silly! A lighter, fresher version that is perfect for picnic fare, fish dishes (you could put a slight chill on it on a hot day) and snacks.

 

Ippolito Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Liber Pater 2007, Calabria

100% Gaglioppo, silky smooth yet meaty and earthy in the mode of aged Barolo or Rioja, this wine is named for the Italian god of wine and vines and he is pictured on the label in full armor and wielding a BIG sword to defend that style from any invading modernist tendencies. Bravo Bello!

 

Ippolito Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva Colli del Mancuso 2005, Calabria

Gnarly old Gaglioppo vines growing on steep hillsides in the heart of the zona are left hanging fruit until late October to produce this rich and delicious wine. The fruit is macerated for weeks in the manner of traditional Barolo and the resulting wine is then finished in barrels for eight months. Medium bodied but immensely flavorful, this beauty exudes perfumes of dried cherries, spices and vanilla. Braise something with some good mushrooms for a long time and hit it with this, you will not be sorry.

 

Ippolito Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore 

Riserva Ripe del Falco 1991, 92, 93, 95, 96 Calabria

call for availability and pricing

We brought two vintages of these back from VinItaly 2005 and poured them at a Mr. Big Stuff tasting that May and not a week went by without someone calling to ask if they had arrived yet. These are the best wines from the best vintages, lovingly cellared at the cantina until they were shipped here, with wondrous scents of leather, aged meat, anise, dried red fruits, tobacco, earth and spices on the nose and a rich but elegant mouthfeel. VERY LIMITED.

Tasting notes from a WINE EXPO-ista in Ohio, Loren Sonkin:

“I would also like to mention the Ippolitio 1845 winery.  These wines are scarce but with a little digging you can find them in the United States.  They make a very nice Cirò Rosso, Bianco and Rosado.  They also make a single vineyard Cirò Rosso called Colli de Mancuso which is very good.  But the star of the show, of all Ciròs as far as I am concerned, is their Ripe del Falco.  In 2007 I had a bottle of their 1992 and it was stunning.  With great red cherry and dried cherry flavors and a hint of earthy funk, this wine has layers of complexity.  It has great structure with a strong backbone of acidity that has allowed it to improve in the cellar.  Who said these wines cannot age?  This is an exception to the general rule of drinking Ciròs young.  I paid around $46 for a bottle at the Wine Expo store while on vacation in Santa Monica California and I wish I had bought more.”

 

Cantina Lento, Lamezia Terme, Calabria

This cantina is a true family affair: Salvatore and Giovana Lento take care of the viticultural side of things, lovely daughters Danila and Manuela are in charge of sales and marketing and their uncle (the brother of Giovana), Antonio Zaffina, makes the wines. A truly wondrous thing for real wine drinkers (as opposed to tasters) is that they make traditional, hearty, Southern styled wines yet keep the alcohol in check through carefully controlled fermentation. The whites run 11-11.5% and even the big reds are only 13%. But they are absotively PACKED with flavor (and, in the case of the reds, body and richness). Some charter member WINE EXPO-isti who remember them from the early days of our store (over a decade ago) have been asking for them ever since. Well, after years without distribution in California, they are back and, Boy Howdy, are we glad to see (and taste and DRINK) them.

Lento Lamezia Rosso Romeo 2007, Calabria

Have you had your Greco Nero, Magliocco or Nerello Mascalese today? Get the minimum daily requirement in one fell swoop with this. Bright, spicy, animale (Italian slang for ‘sexy”) and really good value for money as well.

 

Lento Lamezia Rosso Dragone 2009, Calabria

Stepping up the line, the Dragone is smooth and meaty, reminiscent of WINE EXPO-ista cult fave Brindisi Rosso Solise but much more so with smoke and earth on the nose balancing deep black fruit, licorice and a bit more grip on the finish, especially with the ‘05 vintage (cool Dungeons & Dragons label no extra charge).

 

Lento Lamezia Rosso Riserva 2003, Calabria

The Riserva brings the same blend as the Dragone to its logical conclusion through careful fruit selection and discreet barrel aging. A nice glass of this will elevate your rotisserie chicken, wild mushroom pasta or rib roast to a whole ‘nother level. One of our very favorite wines on our last Italian buying trip, it is superbly elegant, beautifully packaged and a great value for gifts.

 

Lento Cabernet Sauvignon Federico II 2007, Calabria

Wow! WOW!! and did we say WOW!!!!? One of the best old school Cabs in Italy: pure terroir on a stick. This one reminds us of previous WINE EXPO-ista hits like Vallona, Cignale and Villa Marina in that, like those wines, it has a real sense of place (the rugged hills of Calabria, certo!) and is not just yet more highly extracted / oaked and processed commoditized Cab-product.