Sergio Arcuri – Calabria
Sergio is fourth generation grower based in Reggio Calabria’s renowned Ciró denomination. The reds here are based on the indigenous Gaglioppo grape – one of Italy’s oldest noble varieties, rumoured to have been the basis for the Krimisa wine given to winners of the ancient Olympic Games and also written about in the 13th century. In its best, reputation-eschewing examples Gaglioppo exudes aromas of small red berries and citrus zest, with mineral and delicate underbrush notes that are not unlike a lighter, more saline Nebbiolo. From two vineyards near the Ionian coast of Calabria Sergio is one of a growing band of Ciró producers making exquisitely fine red wines from Calabria’s star black grape. Now bottling his fruit rather than selling it off as his ancestors did, with 2009 being the first vintage, Sergio is a master at teasing out power and vivacity. The family’s 3.7ha lie in the heart of the Ciró region at 105m on Calabria’s south-eastern edge overlooking the Gulf of Taranto & Puglia beyond. Sergio is fortunate to have old vines planted in 1948 using the original ‘alberello’ trellising system, along with more recent ‘cordone speronato’ planted in the 1980s. He works in an environmentally friendly way, yields being a modest 42 hl/ha with minimal use of Copper & Sulphur and a focus on winter weeding only. Fermentation takes place in what looks like a large, open cement bath tub, allowing him to keep the cap submerged, for soft extraction over 4 to 5 days only before removing the skins (to avoid bitter tannins from the pips) and completing the fermentation.
Greco di Ciró Bianco ‘Liberaisensi’ is made from the local grape also known as Guardavalle, distinct from the more commonly seen ‘Greco Bianco’ but considered now of equal importance and quality. With a portion of 40+year old vines the Liberaisensi spends 4 days on its skins. This is the first vintage of the estate Rose, Rosato Marinetto, made from 100% Gaglioppo. The Aris Ciró Classico is 100% Gaglioppo, aged for 20 months in cement. Vines range in age from 40 to 80 years. The Old vine ‘Piu VIte’ Riserva is a selection from 70+ year old aged for 4 years in concrete and 1 in bottle.