The backbone of Ciro, a DOC wine from Calabria in southern Italy, is the gaglioppo grape, which is either native to Calabria or (if you choose to believe the legends) was brought by the Greeks to southern Italy and is descended from a variety called Krimisa. Ciro is reputed to have been the drink served to victors in the ancient Olympics.

Interestingly, this variety of wine, in the words of the Librandi website, "does not touch wood." In the case of the current red wine, this means that was fermented in stainless steel tanks rather than the more standard oak barrels. It also received only five days of maceration, the process which extracts colors and tastes from the grape skins, seeds, stems, etc. This Librandi wine was also not aged in the bottle prior to release. All in all, these characteristics should have made the wine far different from many other red wines.

Instead, I was disappointed to discover that it shared much in common with other wines from the general geographic region. The color was a paler red than most, but the spicy aromas were similar to the characteristic scents of, say, a Primitivo from Sicily. The taste delivered very mild fruit flavors, which were dominated by the wine's intense acidity. On the back end, there was little in the way of tannin to give the wine structure—this was, of course, to be expected, since tannins are extracted during maceration (of which this wine had very little) and during barrel aging (of which this wine had none).

In sum, I found the wine familiar but not pleasant. You need something really acidic to go with this wine in order to avoid puckering; I suggest pepperoni pizza or a chicken dish with lots of lemon. I may eventually try another Ciro, but it will certainly be from a different producer.

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