Gaglioppo is a deeply pigmented and high quality red grape variety prevalent throughout the province of Calabria, in the far south of Italy. It is likely of Greek origins and is also found in the Marche, Abruzzo and Umbria.
During antiquity, Calabria was the geographical zone incorporating the boot of Italy and thus, part of modern day Puglia. Unlike Puglia, however, Calabria has wallowed in its southern languorousness with an average income of less than half the national average. It is no wonder therefore that Gaglioppo, as well as the province's other grape varieties, are little known and their wines seldom found outside of Calabria.
The best known wine made from Gaglioppo is Cirò. Cirò is a DOC responsible for fresh and easy drinking mid-weighted styles of wine, with little to no oak influence. However, elsewhere, there is experimentation with greater extraction levels and oak ageing to give wines of resonance and muscle. This approach finds affinity with Gaglioppo's late ripening tendencies and inherently high sugar levels. Librandi's Gravello is a standout of the idiom.
Gaglioppo thrives in hot and dry conditions, offering clear advantages in addition to its potential for robust and ageworthy wines, as global warming threatens. Nevertheless, less than 5,000 hectares were planted in Italy in 2000. This is as much a reflection of Calabria's waywardness as it is of the grape's relative anonymity.