Two of the original tribes to settle Calabria were called the ”Oenotria“ or ”vine-growers.” As archaeological sites were excavated in the area, they discovered that grapes grown on the mountainsides had been pressed and their juice transported to the seaports via aqueducts designed to handle wine. They also found a few side aqueducts that took some of the wine directly to individual dwellings. In other words, there had been primitive wine on tap!
Calabria has a reputation for being a harmonious and welcoming region. The Calabrese are regarded as friendly and easygoing with a slower and steadier pace of life. The region is not crowded with big cities; rather, it’s home to high-mountain villages and red-roofed coastal villas. It’s no surprise that Calabria’s scenic coastline brings an influx of tourists. It’s a coastline one poet described as “the most beautiful [stretch] in Italy.”
Without question, the most important ingredient in Calabrese cuisine is the peperoncini. Long, round, red, orange, yellow, crushed, dried, or whole, it is tough to find a Calabrese food that does not incorporate this chili pepper. The dry climate required to grow this chili also makes Calabria a perfect climate for eggplant. Even breakfast is different in Calabria, where they cook a breakfast called murseddu, a paste of liver stewed in tomatoes, herbs and chili peppers, served stuffed within pita bread.
Calabrese wines are neither the refined masterpieces of Northern Italy, nor the awe-inspiring vintages of Central Italy. Instead, they reflect the style of its people. They are easy-to-drink, unpretentious, spicy wines aimed toward perfect food pairings. As the wines and food evolved simultaneously, the spicy wines from neighboring Ciro and the surrounding areas pair nicely with the spicy, pepper-affected wines of Calabria.