If you're a hardcore Italian wine enthusiast you might be familiar with Magliocco wine. Popular in southern Italy, it's absolutely delicious, presents beautifully, and goes great with red meat.
In this article we dive into Magliocco including where it's from, how it's made, and best food pairings.
For the better part of a century Calabrian wines have been pushed to the side, skipped over for other more well known regions such as Tuscany. However, over the past few years things have changed quite a bite.
Viticulture in Calabria is currently thriving and interest in the region is growing very quickly on a national level. And now international consumers are starting to take note and want in on the action.
Other grape growing regions on Italy focus heavily on innovating the industry in order to scale production and increase revenue (capitalism am I right?). This causes much of their local artisanal identity to die.
However, since Calabria has essentially been 'abandoned' by Italy for decades much of the local traditions and artisanal practices remain firmly intact.
This acts as a double edged sword. On one hand it means the region misses out on moving forward with the country as a whole. But on the other hand it means many customs are preserved. This allows producers to continue making wine how they want to and gives them and consumers the luxury of appreciating quality over quantity.
Magliocco is one of those wines that serves as an incredible introduction to Calabrian viticulture.
What is Magliocco?
Magliocco is a type of grape that originates in the southern Italian region of Calabria. It's usually used to make red wine, however, is also often used as a blending grape.
There are two main cultivars for this grape. While the names have the same root they're very different from each other. They each grow in different regions, have different flavor profiles, and therefore pair well with different foods. Let's explore each one.
Magliocco Dolce, which as the name implies (dolce means sweet in Italian) offers a sweeter and fruitier profile.
Magliocco Dolce is a fantastic representation of what it means to be a Calabrian wine because it encompasses the entire region in one bottle. It grows from thhe zone of Crotone, starting near the Neto river, towards the hills and mountains of Pollino bordering the region of Basilicata.
The grape is also fascinating because it can change its appearance and the way the fruit grows based on the clone. For example, the fruit can change from growing in small, tight bunches to large, spaced bunches.
The plant also acclimates extremely well to local climates making it a fantastic representation of Calabria's intense biodiversity.
Magliocco Canino is known for its intense tannins and robust structure and it typically grows in the area between Vibo Valentia and Lamezia Terme.
You can also find it under other name such as:
- Guarnaccia (not to be confused with Grenache)
- Greco Nero
The grape has different names because is has many biotypes, convincing producers they're dealing with different varieties but in truth it is the same grape just with subsequent selection mutations.
Magliocco Canino is used to make red wine. It has a red berried vine with tight (usually, but not always) bunches. The berries are medium and round with thick skin and covered with bloom. The color is purplish blue which tends to learn towards black at the end of the ripening cycle.
The fruit typically matures quite late with the harvest lasting until the end of October or even the beginning of November. The wine produced can change its body according to the altitude, typically it's sweeter as the elevation increases.
Lastly, it's often grown and produced as a monocultivar, however, it is sometimes used in blends.
Calabria is known for its farmlands and biodiversity. It's the second largest producer of olive oil in Italy and has hundreds of miles of coastline. From the coast the lowland hills quickly turn into mountains making the terroir truly remarkable.
Calabria's fertile lands, warm summers, and mild winters provide the ideal growing conditions for growing this grape.
History and Origin
Magliocco wine has a rich history that dates back centuries. According to historical records, the grape was brought to Calabria by the Greeks. In fact, the name Magliocco in Greek means 'tender lump'.
Vineyards of this ancient fruit were cultivated by both the Greeks and Romans in Calabria and the cultivar survived to the 21st century.
When you pour a glass of Magliocco it presents as a beautiful, velvety rich wine. It has a lot of texture, is very pleasing to the eye, and has a strong and intense aroma that easily overflows out of the glass.
The dominant notes on the nose are those of small fruits with spice and hints of incense that becomes increasingly evident with age.
Some of the other classic characteristics include:
- In the glass it shows with a deep, dark ruby color with purple or blue hues.
- On the nose it has aromas of thick black fruits, spices, and sometimes floral notes.
- On the palate you often find a blend of flavors including dark berries, plums, hints of chocolate, and a light smokiness.
- The tannins are firm yet elegant, providing a well-balanced structure.
Best Food Pairings
Magliocco is known for its deep, dark colors and intense flavors of berry and slight chocolate. It pairs very well with gamey meat such as:
- wild hog
- ragu alla bolognese
If you're into great wine you're probably into great olive oil, take a look at our selection of premium Italian extra virgin olive oil today, 100% produce in Calabria!
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