Taken from The Wine Searcher http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-calabria
Calabria is a wine region of southern Italy, effectively a large peninsula jutting out between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. It is divided from Sicily by the narrow Strait of Messina, and its northern border with Basilicata is marked by the southern Apennine peaks.
Calabria and its wines have been subject to many influences over the centuries, most notably that of the ancient Greeks, who cultivated the first wine-bearing vines here. For many centuries Calabrian wines were famous not just in Italy, but also in other European countries. Their glory began to dissipate, however, as competition arose from French regions such asBordeaux, which were closer both geographically and culturally to key markets such as London and Amsterdam. A crippling blow accelerated this slow decline in the late 19th century, as the phylloxera epidemic ravaged Calabria’s vineyards and effectively disabled its wine industry. This was compounded in the late 20th century as wine regions in the New World began showing their potential to produce large volumes of affordable quality wines; the region has never quite recovered. (© Copyright Material, Wine-Searcher.com)
Despite the worrying state in which Calabrian wine finds itself, the region is home to 12 DOCtitles, although it still lacks a DOCG title. Between them, these 12 cover just 5% of the region’s total wine output, as the production restrictions they require are not counterbalanced by the prices they command, making them an unattractive prospect to producers. Calabria’s oldest and most famous wine is Ciro, regrettably the only Calabrian wine to command great respect in the 20th and early 21st centuries. It remains the only significant reminder of Calabria’s potential as a source of high-quality wine, particularly in its Ciro Rosso Riservaform. The only other Calabrian wine of any note is sweet, white Greco di Bianco, a dried-grape wine from Calabria’s south-east coast.
The wine world has remained largely oblivious to Calabria’s other DOCs, although this may soon begin to change as attitudes evolve among consumers and, more importantly, the Italian wine authorities. Six of these lesser-known DOCs are found in the west of the region around the Crati River Valley, between Pollino in the north and Lamezia in the south. Just north-west of that area, the mountains are home to the notable white wines of Verbicaro, one of the wines most likely to help restore Calabrian wine’s good reputation. Along the east coast between Ciro and Bianco are Bivongi, Melissa and the tiny coastal DOC of S.Anna di Isola di Capo.
Almost all of these areas favor the Gaglioppo and Greco Nero grape varieties for their red wines, and make their whites predominantly from Greco Bianco, Trebbiano Toscano andMalvasia Bianca. Sicilian varieties such as red Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, and white Ansonica, are increasingly popular and suit the Calabrian terroir well. As is the case in almost every southern Italian region, the commercial potential of international varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon has not gone unnoticed. Wines made from these grapes are typically varietals, and are required to say so on the label. This serves to set them apart from the more authentic Calabrian styles, while allowing the region to benefit from the immediate marketability of such famous varieties.