Odoardi “GB” Calabria IGT 2012
Calabria, the southernmost region of mainland Italy, forms the toe of the “boot.” It is hilly, mountainous country that is not very densely populated or particularly modern. Bordered by Basilicata to the north, Calabria is surrounded by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. While there are a few population centers of note today, it is generally a pretty rustic place.
But this part of Italy has an incredibly rich and important history. The vine has been cultivated there for well over 3,000 years, and by the time the Romans took over, it had already seen millennia of war, law, science, and culture. “a2 + b2 = c2”…remember that one from Math class?! Our good friend Pythagoras once lived in modern-day Calabria, as a number of very important Greek city states were located here. And where the Greeks went, the vine went too!
The agricultural scene in Calabria today is generally dominated by the cultivation of olives and citrus, but grapes are important too, and there are some amazing wines to be found when you start exploring the region. One of our favorite Calabrian producers is Odoardi, a family winery with agricultural roots dating back over 500 years! This December, Chef is highlighting Calabria’s most famous salumi, the deliciously spreadable ‘Nduja, so the wine team has decided to feature Odoardi’s fantastic 2012 “GB.”
The “GB” contains Calabria’s most important varietal, Gaglioppo, along with Magliocco, Greco Nero and Nerello Cappuccio. While you may be familiar with Nerello Cappuccio if you’re a Sicilian wine fan, it’s a good bet that most people would consider the other three grapes to be a bit more…obscure. And that’s great, because one of the most exciting things about Italian wine is the crazy diversity of indigenous varietals. The vineyards here range from sea level up to 600m, and contain gravelly soils, along with some clay and limestone. After fermentation in stainless steel the wine is racked into small barrique for a year before bottling.
The “GB” is the current generation of the Odoardi family’s homage to their important forebear, Giovan Battista. It reflects a thoughtful and modern approach to Calabrian winemaking, and is the perfect wine to enjoy on a cold December evening at the bar at Babbo! The nose is fruit dominated, with loads of ripe blackberry, fig and dark cherry, and some nice spice notes contributed by the French oak. On the palate the wine is medium plus to full in body, with big chewy tannins rounded out nicely by the silky fruit. It’s a big wine for sure, but it’s totally in balance and a wonderful pairing with roasted and grilled meats.