Librandi, "Gravello" Tenuta Arcidiaconato Calabria IGT 2017 (about $30)

Italian Wine for january, 2022

Calabria is one of the least well known of Italy’s twenty wine regions. Whereas wines from Tuscany and Piedmont are easily bandied about in wine discussions by the wine-savvy, mention wines from Calabria and you’re likely to gather, at best, quizzical looks.

While Calabria is primarily a dry mountainous region it is in many respects an ideal environment for growing wine grapes. The mountainous interior receives adequate rainfall and high-elevation sea breezes mitigate the deleterious effects of the intense Mediterranean heat. Significant day-night temperature variations also help nourish the grapes during the growth process. Because of its hospitable grape-growing environment, wines have been produced here for millennia.

The vast majority of Calabrian wines are red wines and Gaglioppo (pronounced gah lyee oh’ poe) is Calabria’s main red grape variety both in terms of quantity and quality. It’s a prolific, hardy grape that holds up well in Calabria’s warm, dry climate. When the grapes are grown in prime locations and produced by attentive winemakers, Gaglioppo-based wines can be rich and velvety with intriguing dark-fruit flavors and good tannic structure.

Librandi is Calabria’s most well-known and recognized winery. It is family-owned and operated and has worked hard to put Calabria on the world’s wine map. Some of its wines, such as its Duca San Felice Rosso Riserva and Megonio, have garnered wide international acclaim and recognition.

Librandi today has 580 acres of vineyards spread among 6 wine-growing estates the majority of which are located in Calabria’s prime Ciro DOC zone. Librandi’s 125 vineyard-acre Arcidiaconato estate located near the town of The 2017 Gravello is a Gaglioppo-based wine from the Librandi winery in CalabriaStrongoli was its first vineyard acquisition outside the Ciro DOC zone.

The 2017 Librandi “Gravello” is a blend of 60 percent Gaglioppo and 40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, all from the Arcidiaconato estate. After fermentation in stainless steel, temperature-controlled tanks, the wine sits in repose in oak barriques for 12 months with an additional 6 months in the bottle prior to release. The name “Gravello” is loosely derived from the Latin word gravitas which means serious, weighty or important.

The wine is deep red in color with purple edges. A gentle swishing of the glass releases seductive blackberry and plum aromas while velvety, soft-edged tannins embrace and entwine the black cherry, blackberry and cassis flavors. It is well-balanced and adroitly carries its 14.5 percent alcohol while some fine tannic notes give luster to the long and complex finish.

Librandi's 2017 Gravello is a gorgeous wine that goes well with flavorful foods or can simply be sipped by itself when in a contemplative mood. The wine will age gracefully in a cellar for the next 8 to 10 years.


©Richard Marcis
January 7, 2022

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