We wine writers have a tendency to want to “discover” a region, a grape, or process just after someone else has already re-discovered it, but before the next writer follows and discovers it. I’ll try not to do that with Calabria, the geographic foot of the Italian boot that kicks Sicily.
But I will note that, as with many wine areas in Italy’s south and southeast, the wines here historically have not been prized outside the region. There are several reasons for that. One is the tendency of rural regions to stick to traditional methods that are not always that demanding. Another is that these hotter regions are sometimes pose challenges to making fine wines. The potential may be there, but it costs money that the regions often don’t have.
That said, Calabria is beginning to make very good, very interesting wines from both local and international grape varieties. One of the leaders in this effort is Librandi, and, fortunately, this issue of The Dozen features several of their wines.
To balance these southern, Mediterranean wines, we also have wines from mountainous Austria. Feel free to mix and match.
2022 Librandi “Segno Librandi” Cirò Bianco ($18) – Fresh, lovely flavors of apple, pear and citrus with good crispness at the finish.
2022 Librandi “Critone” Calabria Bianco ($19) – Slightly tangy, very refreshing with firm green fruitiness along with some spicy notes.
2021 Sattlerhof Südsteiermark Sauvignon Blanc ($22) – Very tart but with juicy lime flavors with a very fruity finish.
2021 Wieninger Gemischter Satz White Table Wine ($22) – Enticing soft floral flavors but not well-structured to support them.
2021 Weininger Nussberg Gruner Veltliner ($24) – Very good intense green fruit flavors, very fresh, well-structured and of medium weight.
NV Fred Loimer Niederösterreich Extra Brut Reserve ($41) – Millions of tiny bubbles with a pleasant mix of tart apple and brioche flavors.
Librandi “Segno Librandi” Cirò Rosato ($13) – Pleasant, tangy/tart citrus flavors of orange juice and orange peel.
2019 Librandi “Duca San Felice” Cirò Riserva ($19) – Lots of full, tart fruitiness, well-balanced with some wood notes in finish.
2021 Librandi “Segno Librandi” Cirò Rosso Classico ($19) – Light-colored red that delivers more intense fruity flavors than expected, with nice finishing tannins – quite enjoyable.
2021 Paul Achs “Heideboden” Burgenland Blaufränkisch ($25) – Bright red flavors, crisp acidity with savory wood notes in the finish.
2021 Paul Achs Burgenland Zweigelt ($25) – A properly tart and spicy everyday red with bright berry flavors.
2020 Librandi “Gravello” Calabria Rosso ($33) – Tight, spicy red fruits with very enjoyable savory notes and hints of wood.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.