There’s one area of Italy I wasn’t familiar with: Calabria. That’s why I scheduled a pre-tour visit to the toe of Italy.
My son and I landed in Lamezia Terme and were able to visit the Stati Winery before heading to the Ionian Coast where the best Calabrian wines are made. Stati produces 700,000 bottles of top quality wines. They’re imported by VIAS which by itself is an excellent recommendation.
Our trip to the East Coast of Calabria took us through a national forest which completely dispelled my visions of a dry Calabria. It was more like Switzerland. We stayed in Crotone but the winery action is centered near Cirò.
There we had 2 superb visits: Roberto Ceraudo who took us on a tractor ride through his olive grove. He is rightfully proud of his 10,000 olive trees, including 600 trees averaging 1,000 years of age!
He is also proud of his wines, including his recent 3 bicchieri award for Grisara. This is a small (70,000 bottle) facility. He is also proud of his daughter’s adjacent restaurant which was recently awarded a 1 star by Michelin.
The other winery we visited is the largest(2 million bottles) in Calabria, Librandi. Paolo Librandi escorted us on a tour of the family winery and a ride through the countryside to see his vineyards stretching to the ocean. We also saw the plans for a new wine tourism center with a restaurant and hotel. Despite its size, Librandi makes superb wines, including their Magno Megonio which received a 3 bicchieri award.
We are definitely considering adding a tour to Calabria in the future because it fits our profile for wine, cuisine and culture.