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Brilliant fruity Italian red from Calabrian gaglioppo grapes grown organically in a vineyard overlooking the sea. In the past, such wines were blended out of recognition to improve northern wines, but when carefully and intelligently made, as here, you will find them a revelation.
Product Code: IT27321
View all products by Santa Venere
Calabria is the toe of the Italian boot and though less well known to many wine drinkers than some Italian regions has no less a heritage of wine production than its southern counterparts Puglia and Campania. It is now catching up fast in terms of a reputation for well-made, delicious wines after a very tough time in the early part of the 20th century from which it is only now recovering. Santa Venere is traditionally Calabrian in the sense that their vines are part of a polycultural estate, growing alongside olives, while Charolais cattle are bred for cheese production nearby. Their 150 hectares, 25 of which are under vine, are close to Cìro and only half a kilometre from the Ionian Sea, where the Scala family have farmed since the 17th century. In 1960 Federico Scala took over the running of the business and began an overhaul, building up the complex, eventually including a winery so that the grapes that until then had been sold could be made into wine on the estate. These days the winery is very modern and the estate is farmed organically and Federico has been succeeded by his son Giuseppe, a lawyer by training, and renowned consultant winemaker Riccardo Cotarella. Local Calabrian varieties such as gaglioppo, marsigliana nera and guardavalle are grown alongside nerello cappuccio and greco, both from neighbouring regions of Italy and there is an admirable pursuit of high-quality.
In ancient times this was the main source of high-quality wines from the peninsula of Italy The Greeks had introduced viniculture through their colonies there and named the bottom half of the peninsula ‘Oenotrai’ or land of wine, and the Romans expanded on the tradition, particularly in the Campania where many wealthy citizens owned vast estates and some of the most famous wines of the empire were made, such as Falernum. Some grape names appear to reflect the Greco-Roman influence (greco, aglianico), though this may be more about folk-memory than fact as there is no ampelographical evidence linking these varieties to any Greek ancient forbears. Campania itself is the area around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Naturally there are volcanic soils in the vicinity and as the vineyards climb the Apennines there is altitude to cool the grapes as they ripen. As such there is a balancing freshness to the fruity wines. Greco di Tufo, fiano (especially from Avellino) and falanghina are among the best white wines, characterful and perfumed. Of the red varieties it is aglianico that makes the most impressive examples on the volcanic soils of Taurasi, though there is potential promised and realized in other varieties like piedirosso. There are excellent aglianico wines from Basilicata, the once impoverished region on the instep of the Italian boot. Inland on the border with Puglia, round the extinct volcano of Monte Vulture, the aglianico grape performs admirably to produce powerful ageworthy red wines that retain a thread of finesse. Calabria is the toe of the boot, and another region of limited economic development in recent decades. From one end of the province to the other mountains form a spine and, unlike in Campania, the vineyards producing the best wines are on the flat. In particular the DOC of Cirò on the Gulf of Taranto in the east of the province produces perfumed red wines from the indigenous gaglioppo grape.Across the Apennines on the Adriatic coast lies Puglia, a region that has begun to overcome a longstanding reputation for producing wines for bulk export but is now producing a range of fascinating good-value red wines from varieties like negroamaro, primitivo (aka zinfandel in California) and uva di troia. In the right hands all of them are capable of making very fine wines with plenty of ripe fruit, concentration and structure but without the overpowering alcohols that a hot climate and indifferent winemaking once routinely produced. They are also often excellent value. Puglia is largely flat, almost table-like lacking the softening effects of altitude must rely on the air conditioning of the sea and the skill of the winemaker to make balanced wines. Vines are consistently bush trained to retain shade and moisture. The best wines come from the Salento peninsula where the sea is on three sides and the best producers reside. Full-bodied negroamaro from Brindisi and Copertino and primitivo from soils underpinned by limestone in Manduria can be excellent Whites tend to be greco, fiano and minutolo, and there are some well-flavoured rosé wines as a speciality of the region. Whites too are now catching up in quality.Sicily has shown itself to be one of the most forward thinking Italian regions in recent years, with an awakening pride in the quality that can be achieved on this hot, socially complex and culturally saturated island. Sicily was once famous for the fortified Marsala wines that Nelson bought to victual his Mediterranean fleet, but as this fame and the sales that went with it dwindled many producers recognised that there was a need to produce table wines of greater quality. Bulk wine still leaves the island in tankers but there has been something of a revolution in viticulture and viniculture and Sicily now produces some of Italy’s best and most interesting wines. Nero d’Avola has been a conspicuous success, and makes everything from fruity entry-level reds to powerful, ripe and structured reds that can age and is often a major component in high-quality blends with syrah, cabernet and merlot. Mount Etna is a source of fine reds and whites of depth, finesse and zest, grown on the slopes of the famous volcano. Altitude and volcanic soils provide excellent conditions for the local nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio and carricante (a white grape) vines. The white former mainstays of Marsala production cataratto and grillo are being given their head by winemakers who want them to shine alone and shine they do. Finally there has been a renaissance of interest in the intense, sweet muscat wines of the island of Pantelleria, an island closer to Tunisia than Sicily.Sardinia, until 1708 a Spanish possession, grows several vines that reflect an Iberian heritage. Graciano and mazuelo grow here as bovale sardo and boval grande respectively. Cannonau is grenache/garnacha by another less Spanish name. The grape that the island has exported to other parts is vermentino from which its finest, aromatic and flavoursome whites are made. Mazuelo, better known as carignan, makes the islands best reds called carignano del Sulcis.
"What a good all-rounder this is.
Highly recommended as an every-day wine.
It is this sort of 'find' that maintains the Society as Britain's 'sine qua non' wine-merchant."
I would recommend this wine
"Soft and with plenty of fruit. Just lovely! "
"Sorry, meant to tick the box saying "I would recommend" - at 5 stars, most certainly!"
I would recommend this wine
"Excellent value and very enjoyable - immediately identifiable as Southern Italian even if a lesser-known region and grape variety. The Gaglioppo grape certainly has characteristics that will endear it to fans (like me) of one of its genetic parents, Sangiovese; this was full-bodied but not unduly tannic, a really nice all-rounder and one we'll be returning to (stocks permitting). Nice that it's organic, too. On the strength of this I also bought a trial bottle of its more expensive "Riserva" sibling (IT28011) - it's difficult to imagine how it could be twice as good (although being double the price) but I'm looking forwrad to finding out!"
"Lovely fruit, slightly less full bodied than other Gaglioppos I've tried - drank it with a sobrasada, tomato and cannelini bean stew and it worked really well; it'd be great with parmigiana di melanzane."
"What a good all-rounder this is.
Highly recommended as an every-day wine.
It is this sort of 'find' that maintains the Society as Britain's 'sine qua non' wine-merchant."
"Lovely - no rough edges; medium, so versatile, fruity and no discernible acidity worth mentioning. On my wish list. "
"Delicious wine, sufficient acidity to be better with food, but very well made and no rough edges. Very pretty colour, if aromatically simple. Not necessarily a keeper, but such good value for money, you won’t want to!"
"Soft and with plenty of fruit. Just lovely! "
JancisRobinson.com 30th Nov 2019
"The floral note of the local Gaglioppo grape in its
Calabrian homeland. Great value. An old favourite. - Jancis Robinson"
JancisRobinson.com 9th Aug 2019
"Lovely floral element
here, plus tobacco, boot polish, bonfire smoke and red fruit. Kaleidoscopic
complexity for less than £10. Spot on! Furry tannic grip. 16.5/20 - Richard Hemming MW"
The Three Drinkers 11th Jun 2019
"Rustic, but with charm, this is earthy and
fruity with fairly high tannin. A bit like a fruitier nero d’Avola. Made with
gaglioppo grapes from Calabria. - Helena Nicklin"
"Just back from Calabria and very impressed with Ciro reds.Gagioppo DOP (14 Euros a bttle) was very good and drinkakable but Ciro Classico by Cantine luzzolini DOC was just as good - if not better - and at half the price. For this we were paying 7 Euros a bottle at the hotel we stayed at!!
The white wine Madre Goccia (IGT) by Cantine luzzoni also was very good too and most popular with the ladies. It was more costly however at 16 Euros! I would highly recommend both - Wine Society get some in!
J R Prichard Esq (04-Oct-2018)
"great in big burgundy glasses to let some air in fast. Great substance. Librandi once was a favourite but quite auter compared to this ones lushness"
Mr John Burns (25-Sep-2018)
"This is a cracker of a wine, lots going on. Full of flavour, a touch of sour as noted in a previous review. Needs food (any robust Italian dish the obvious no brainer, e.g. spicy meatballs or lasagne). Will definitely order this again, close to the limit for what I generally pay, but you get what you pay for with this one. A touch tannic, a fruity sour hit, definitely will be appreciated by guests who like a more robust wine."
Mr Steven Naylor (29-Aug-2018)
"The notes describe this as a revelation and I'd agree. Lovely, fruity red, full of flavour. This has gone straight onto my favourites list. Great value."
Mr Mark Leech (25-Aug-2018)
"Bosh, bam and indeed, wallop! This is what it's all about. Bold, unfussy, clean-as-a-whistle country wine. Bursting with pure fresh ripe fruit followed by a clean flash of acidity and a little kick of caramelised red pepper. Unfussy, organic, gorgeous."
Mr William Thomas (04-Nov-2017)
"Colour: Deep garnet red fading to ruby at the rim.
Aroma: Floral and tobacco upfront followed by smoke, mushrooms and crunchy unripe red fruits.
Taste: Fleshy, medium-bodied, moderately tannic with fresh acidity. Flavours are tart; bitter cherries and redcurrants with a medium spicy somewhat drying finish.
Overall: Typical Italian sourness which may suit food rather than having it on its own. Nose and flavour are a little one dimensional but all in all not bad. Nice aromas, quite well-balanced and good value so worth a try."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (29-Oct-2017)
"This is nice, quite typically Italian. Nice, juicy fruit with a bit of a tangy, sour streak. Recommended."
Mr Iain Buchanan (14-Jul-2017)
"Nose of dark berries and dark cherries. Wine was way too harsh on opening, but after a day it opened up more. Not terribly complex, and tannins are a bit strong, and not very full bodied, but the plummy taste is pleasant enough. Not sure I'd get it again though"
Mr Matthew Utting (04-Jun-2017)
Chase Magazine (29th Jun 2017)
"Sweet and juicy with
a good length of flavour. - David Clay"
"This is a great Friday night wine or with any meat pasta dish Really excellent value at under a tenner, just ordered another 2 cases."
Mr David R Sully (15-Apr-2017)
"Really excellent value. Excellent concentration and purity of fruit for the price, and with real character. Will not necessarily please those who dislike red wines with noticeable acidity but I find it refreshing and more than acceptably in balance on this wine."
Mr Gareth Tilley (02-Mar-2017)
"Tried this in the Showroom machine, punches well above its price point in terms of complexity, it has a good length of flavour but also has smooth tannins, would work well with food, a really good find."
Mr David Mitchell (31-Jan-2017)
"Don't normal buy sub-£10 wine but bought it after reading Jancis' review. Great wine, not OTT in any way but lovely fruit, savoury and moreish, just the kind of red I like."
Mr Daniel Yates (30-Dec-2016)
Good stuff. Sniff and taste reminded me vaguely of a decent claret at half the price. A very nice mouthful. Would deffo reorder."
Mr Michael Ahlquist (21-Dec-2016)
"We enjoyed this very much, not a region or grape type I know, but will be ordering some more. It went very well with a Stifado, definitely a winter wine."
Mr Nicholas Cambrook (13-Dec-2016)
"Very disappointing - wouldn't recommend - and certainly wouldn't buy again!
Mr Michael Dearden (20-Nov-2016)
"Perhaps I was expecting a bit much after Jancis's soaring review. I wouldn't want to put anyone off buying it -- it's a perfectly decent, enjoyable wine (on the full side of medium bodied, fruit forward, no noticeable oak) and seems very fairly priced even with the latest rise. I just didn't find it distinctive or particularly interesting. If I remember, Jancis said it had "masses of character and charm" and that's the bit I didn't get at all.
Drunk over two days. Would be happy enough to drink again, but probably not buy. 3.5 stars."
Mr Robert Trevelyan (12-Nov-2016)
"Very good wine. Lovely clean flavours without being alcoholic fruit juice. Unusual cherry/loganberry edge and good length. Highly recommended."
Mr Colin Mitchell (23-Oct-2016)
"Another great find by The Wine Society. A lot of wine for your money. My first experience of Gaglioppo, reminds me of negroamaro. Depth is well balanced, the concentration is not overpowering. Janice Robinson said not one for the cellar but I wonder if it will age a bit if you can leave it alone! A new contender for for the Bricco Rosso Suagnà Langhe as best value Italian at The Wine Society ."
Mr Guy Laister (08-Oct-2016)
"I'd give this 4.5 if I could. Brilliant full and juicy wine. I'd expect to pay easily over a tenner for a wine like this. Really top stuff for £8."
Mr Jason Mossman (24-Sep-2016)
"I had not heard of the gaglioppo grape but this wine really packs a punch. Full of flavour; perhaps better on a cold winter night than a summer lunch. I hope the Wine Society keeps it available: will always be in my cellar."
Professor Robert Moon (21-Sep-2016)
"Delicious, smooth food not required. Excellent value."
Mr Gordon Allan (19-Sep-2016)
"In my experience a review from Jancis Robinson can be relied upon and it was her recent rave, by her standards anyway, review that lead me to buy thee bottles of Ciro as a taster and to see if we liked it .......... and surprise, surprise we do ! I cannot add much to the tasting notes which I would say pretty much reflect last nights experience, save to say that it was not as tannic as I might of expected, they are very subtle. VGV wine and hopefully there will some left when I next order."
Mr Ian Day (31-Aug-2016)
Mr Alan Wilson (21-Aug-2016)
"Ok... Just ok. Light, black pepper, food friendly acidity. Like an Italian CdR. Nothing to shout about so will not order again."
Mr William Pollard (13-Aug-2016)
"Plenty of flavour on offer here, went well with bbq steak. Would be a good winter wine to accompany stews etc."
Dr Brian Carr (17-Jul-2016)
"You know the feeling, like when you come across a secluded beach, or a new out of the way restaurant and you realise this is good and say to yourself "wait until I tell my friends", pause, and then say to yourself, but then, everyone will go there and it will end up spoilt for me. That is the sort of reaction I had to this wine. I did not want to write a review because I would be singing its praises and then there either wouldn't be any left for me or, the price would go up, and at sub £8, this is real value for money, super with red or white meat or pasta.
So, I decided not to write a review, so that I could return to it later and know it would still be there just for me, unchanged, warm and velvety and still the same low price."
Mr Gordon Fox (10-Jun-2016)
The Scotsman (20th Jan 2018)
southern Italian red from a revived local grape. Hints of rose petal, rich in
ripe berried fruits, sweet balsamic character with a smooth velvety palate and
a little grip. Produced from organically-grown grapes on Santa Venere's mixed
farm in Calabria. The wonderful gaglioppo grape reminds me of nebbiolo with
floral hints and a touch of leather, but is more approachable and enticing in
its youth. - Rose Murray Brown"
Decanter (4th Jan 2017)
"Fragrant cassis and
berry aromas in the easy-going example of gaglioppo. Velvet textured, with just
enough grip and a fine finish. Straightforward, but joyful to drink - and
amazing value. - Simon Woolf"
JancisRobinson.com (12th Aug 2016)
"Wine of the week: You
don't often come across wines whose price seems genuinely incredibly low but
this is one of them ... Another stonkingly good value offering from this small
denomination on the sole of Italy. The 2014 is more concentrated than the
2013 - 2014 was so much better in southern than northern Italy - but it still
has that distinctive rose-scented nose as well as massively friendly, fruity
palate. Not for long-term cellaring, but this was the favourite of four reds I
showed at the 2016 Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival, even though it was
the cheapest. Masses of character and charm. Very good value. 17/20 Jancis Robinson"
Mr Kevin W Swann (16-Aug-2016)
"For me this is a bit ordinary. It seems modern wine making has striped it of character. There's tannic grip and bright fruit but a lack of real depth. However, overall it's not much money and offers undemanding drinking. I just hoped for more friom the other reviews."
Mr Russell Sainty (20-Apr-2016)
"Bursting with flavour. Very tannic making it a wonderful food wine. My favouritre Ciro is still by Librandi."
Mr John Burns (09-Apr-2016)
"Very satisfactory smooth, dark and round southern red - easy drinking, warm and earthy, full of character- great value.
Mr David Banks (07-Apr-2016)
"Agree entirely with Ms Everatt's excellent description. Nice plummy nose, followed by a pruney sweetish taste rapidly folowed by a very astringent aftertaste. Like overstewed tea. Why is there such a divergence between Members and Press reviews?"
Raymond A Fulton (03-Mar-2016)
"Pretty much what you'd hope for from an eight quid bottle from the Wine Society - a good mid-week relaxer to go with something like a stew or chilli. I'm not sure how you could possibly suggest that "it slips down a treat with salads and even seafood" - it's grippy, slightly sharp, inky and tannic."
Ms Louise Everatt (03-Dec-2015)
Financial Times (30th Apr 2016)
'really Italian Italian wine'. - Jancis Robinson
The Daily Telegraph (9th Apr 2016)
grape is gaglioppo, a red grape that’s native to Calabria, where this wine is
made. It’s a spicy wine, with the powdery texture of a Rhône red but a
distinctively Italian flavour that reminds me of nutmeg, wormwood and red
- Victoria Moore
Financial Times (5th Dec 2015)
"The perfumed, often
pale Gaglioppo grape of Calabria is known as 'the Nebbiolo of the south' and I
love it. [This] has to be the bargain of all time – provided you like soft,
voluptuous light reds with a dry, rather appealingly dusty (luxurious dust)
finish. - Jancis Robinson"
Jancis Robinson MW (23rd Nov 2015)
"Impressive depth of
blackish ruby. Heady – yes, I can see how it could have been taken for a
Nebbiolo. But it’s much sweeter on the palate – really rather soft. It’s the
nose that’s so captivating – especially for the money. Then it finishes dry,
dusty and rather appetising. Brilliant amount of personality for the money.
Voluptuous. Very very good value. - Jancis Robinson"
The Independent on Sunday (13th Sep 2015)
"Another gem from the
Wine Society's current good-value Italian range – punching well above its
weight, a lovely, rounded, medium-bodied red from Gaglioppo grapes, organically
grown in Calabria in the deep south of Italy. For all tomato-based pasta dishes
and the first casseroles of autumn. - Terry Kirby"
Wall Street Journal (Europe) (21st Aug 2015)
"Calabria, the toe of
Italy, doesn’t exactly have a reputation for producing serious wine. But this
one is medium-bodied, making it a wonderful summer wine. Packed with bright red
fruit, it slips down a treat with salads and even seafood. - Will Lyons"
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