A place filled with centuries, if not millenniums, of history
A place situated in between two seas; the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian seas
A place where wine is part of culture and tradition, going back to ancient times
The Ancient Greeks called it Enotria, land of wine
This is Calabria.
A region that only more recently is starting to get the attention it deserves when it comes to wine.
My return to visit Calabria
Returning to Calabria earlier this autumn, to spend some time in Lamezia Terme again and to see my friend Giovanna Costanzo and her family, and then meeting up in Tropea with Kelly Mitchell, I, of course, took the opportunity to visit a couple of wineries.
I got to know Giovanna some years back, I am not going to say how many years ago, because we are both still very young. LOL
Anyway, thanks to Savina, another dear friend, I got to know Giovanna back when I was writing my Ph.D. at the European University Institute close to Fiesole. She is one of those persons that always makes you feel good and at home even if you do not see each other that often.
Giovanna was outdoing herself as usual in her kindness this time, hosting me in her home and having arranged for us to visit three different wineries, one of which I already knew. The three wineries were Statti, Cantine Lento, and Nicotera Severisio (I will write about this winery in a coming article), all within the DOC Lamezia Terme area.
In this article, I will focus on Statti and their very interesting winery, which is so much more than only a winery. I must admit, I thought I knew a bit about them, and it turned out I knew nothing.
Statti is owned by the Statti family, more precisely by Alberto and Antonio Statti. However, it was Paola Scuticchio who guided me around the estate in a grand way and who had me discover a whole new world. I was introduced to one of the owners too, but it was Paola who gave us a full immersion into the activities at Statti winery.
Are you curious to learn more?
As the theme this month in the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group is Lesser Known Italian Regions, I thought it would be perfect to write about the Lamezia Terme area in Calabria.
See more about wine in Calabria in my articles Discovering Cantine Lucà in the South of Calabria and Viticulture – A Family Tradition at Cote di Franze in Calabria.
December WITH #ITALIANFWT
The theme this month, December 2019, is Lesser Known Italian Regions in the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group. As briefly mentioned above, I will be focusing on Statti winery that is located in Lamezia Terme in Calabria. I will talk about a couple of their wines in this article.
How To Participate in the Twitter Chat
On Saturday, 7 December, at 11 am ET / 17.00 CEST the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group will explore Lesser Known Italian Regions in the #ItalianFWT chat on Twitter. All those of you who are interested in wine, food, and travel in Italy and in Lesser Known Italian Regions are very welcome to participate in the chat on Saturday. It is always great to have new fellow Italian wine and food enthusiasts to join and add new perspectives to the discussion.
Join us on Twitter on Saturday, 7 December, by typing in the hashtag #ItalianFWT in the search field on Twitter and click Enter, thereafter, you click Latest which will show you all the live tweets. In that way, you can take part in the live discussion. After the chat, you can also head over to read and comment on the article writers’ blog posts. It’s always nice to get feedback on the articles.
Statti – So Much More Than Just A Winery in Calabria
Calabria was Enotria, the land very suitable for viticulture according to the old Greeks. In reality, the Enotria area they referred to comprised also the Cilento in today’s Campania and Basilicata.
Calabria has then had periods of downfall, especially during the long 20th century, when vineyards in many parts of the region were uprooted as the land was sold and other crops with a quicker gain were planted. Nowadays, the tendency is going back to plant vineyards again and to revive the rich old viticultural heritage.
The Statti Barons is a family that owns the Statti estate in Lamezia Terme since the 18th century. In fact, generation after generation of Statti has resided at the 500 hectares (1200 acres) large estate for more than 300 years.
Today, it is Alberto and Antonio Statti who run the show. The generational shift some years ago also brought about a lot of changes and innovation at the Statti estate. They are indeed very much focused on sustainability and being environment-friendly. They have an attention to detail, I discovered during my visit, that is really remarkable.
An Eco-System All Of Their Own at Statti in Calabria
I was thinking only about their wine production when I first arrived at the Statti estate with Giovanna. However, when driving up the beautiful long and winding entrance road to the Statti estate lined with olive trees, I realized that, hey, olive oil is indeed a key product here. It is true that olive trees and olive oil production is big in Calabria.
Imagine my surprise when we started the walk around the Statti estate, that they have an entire ecosystem of their own just on the outskirts of Lamezia Terme. They recycle and recuperate every tiny waste material and resource they have and turn it into energy.
Did you know that Statti has the largest biogas station in the south of Italy?
Well, they do, and I got to see all of it, even the powerful motor in the biogas station. LOL The biogas station is in operation since 2002.
The estate comprises 500 hectares of land, as I mentioned above, of which
- 300 hectares (750 acres) are olive groves;
- 100 hectares (250 acres) are vineyard plots;
- 50 hectares (125 acres) are citrus groves, and
- 50 hectares (125 acres) are general crops with mainly corn.
- Furthermore, they also have their own farm with dairy cattle.
They only market the wine and the olive oil themselves, all the other products such as oranges, corn, milk, etc. are sold to third party companies, often to local cooperatives.
All the waste material they produce, be it grape skins, marc, olive seeds, waste from corn, manure, it is all recycled in their biogas station and transformed into methane gas.
For example, the olive seeds are crushed and then used as pellets for the central heating system. They furthermore have a trigeneration system at their biogas station that recuperates the air that is produced by the biogas station itself while turning waste into energy. With the recuperation of this warm air, the energy is used to heat the water for the stables and to cool the water for the wine cellar.
Via their biogas station, they produce 1 MW/hour and are entirely self-sufficient in their energy consumption. They then sell the surplus of energy produced.
Winemaking at Statti winery in Calabria
Let us now finally go over to talk more about the winemaking at Statti winery.
I actually thought that they had a much larger production than they really have. They do have 100 hectares (250 acres) of vineyard but still, their philosophy is to focus on quality and not on quantity. They only bottle around 500 000 bottles per year and the rest of the production is sold mainly as bulk wine.
Paola told me that it was only some years ago, I assume with the management of Alberto and Antonio, that they started to focus on the bottling of quality wines. She furthermore stressed that they only sell their wines to the HORECA sector and that they try to have fair pricing. In fact, they prefer to have a bit lower prices in order to offer a quality product from Calabria that is affordable abroad.
When it comes to viticulture, they are on the road towards becoming organically certified but, still, they are already very attentive to the environment. They are using the manure from the farm as fertilizer in the vineyards and in some vineyard plots, they only do cover cropping as they also produce an all-vegan wine. In the wine cellar, they are using only natural yeasts in the fermentation processes.
A Focus on native grapes at Statti winery in Calabria
At Statti winery, they have an overall focus on indigenous grapes to Calabria. They do also cultivate international grapes but the main activity is concentrated on promoting the local grapes of Calabria. In fact, they produce monovarietal wines or blends with grapes such as Gaglioppo, Greco nero, Greco bianco, Mantonico, and Magliocco canino.
In the context of the theme of Lesser Known Italian Regions in the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group, I will here talk about two of the Statti wines:
- Ferdinando 1938 Brut Rosé made with the Champenoise method
- Lamezia Rosso DOC 2018 – their vegan wine
A Sparkling Wine Made with Greco Nero
The sparkling wine that I tasted first at the lunchtime tasting during my visit to Statti winery, was the Ferdinando 1938 Brut Rosé made with only Greco Nero grapes. Greco Nero is a grape native to mainly Calabria even if it does exist in other regions. What is interesting is that there is not one Greco Nero to refer to but in fact, it changes very much in character from subarea to subarea. The ‘real’ Greco Nero, if such a type exists, is considered to be the Greco Nero from Cirò.
Ian D’Agatha in this context stresses that the Greco Nero cultivated in the Lamezia Terme area, in reality, is not a Greco Nero but Magliocco Dolce. This is a discussion more for another time. I do not know which Greco Nero type that Statti winery cultivates. Ian D’Agatha then, in fact, refers to the Lamezia Rosso DOC from Statti as a good wine to try made with Greco Nero, among other grapes. (See Ian D’Agatha, Native Grapes Of Italy, pp. 61-63)
This sparkling rosé is a fresh and mineral sparkling wine made with the Champenoise method that I really liked. It has lovely floral and fruity aromas, mainly of white flowers and fruit, but also of red berries. There is a hint of herby notes, spices, and, of course, the typical bread crust. This rosé sparkling wine is perfect as an aperitif or paired with both seafood or even cold cuts.
A Vegan DOC wine made with 3 native grapes to Calabria
The Lamezia Rosso DOC 2018 is a wine that is special, not only because it is made with three native grapes but also because it is a vegan DOC wine. DOC (denomination of origin) is the second-highest appellation in Italy. It is the first vegan DOC wine produced by the Statti winery in Calabria.
The grapes are here 40% Gaglioppo, 40% Greco Nero, and 20% Magliocco. Gaglioppo is really the grape Nr. 1 in Calabria and it is cultivated all over the region. Read more about the Gaglioppo grape in my article A New Golden Age for the Gaglioppo in Calabria.
Regarding Magliocco, it is yet another indigenous grape to Calabria. There are several different varieties of Magliocco, along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the Lamezia Terme area, the Magliocco Canino is more common. Magliocco Canino has a bit larger bunches and is considered to be less productive than other Magliocco varieties. Magliocco Canino gives elegant, beautiful, and fruity wines with good aging potential.
The grapes for the Lamezia Rosso DOC are produced in the vineyard plots where they only do cover cropping and green manure without any use of manure from animals. They use no animal-related substances during the clarification but instead a natural mineral called bentonite.
This Lamezia Rosso DOC 2018 is a dry and smooth red wine with notes of red fruit, ripe fruit tending almost towards marmalade in a positive sense and not overly sweet, and spices. It has a fresh and structured taste with almost a bit smoky touch. A wine that has only been matured in steel tanks.
They produce several other wines that each and everyone is interesting but there is not enough space to talk about them here today. Anyway, go find a Statti wine and send me your comments. 🙂Posts from Fellow Italian Food, Wine and Travel Lovers Take a look below at all the great ideas for exploring Italy from the comfort of your own home. If you see this soon enough, please join our chat on Twitter at #ItalianFWT on Saturday, December 7th at 11:00am EST. We will be taking you all over Italy. We hope you can join. Jennifer from Vino Travels Italy shares “Sangiovese from Le Marche with Agricola La Canosa” Wendy from A Day In The Life On the Farm adds “Venison Stew with the Hidden Gem of Sicily, Nero d’Avola” Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam brings “Italy Meets Argentina: Empanadas de Carne + Azienda Bisceglia Terra di Vulcano Aglianico del Vulture 2016” Gwen from Wine Predator joins with “3 Surprising Sparklers from Emilia Romagna’s Terramossa #ItalianFWT” Cindy from Grape Experiences will post “Montecucco – An Obscure, Delicious Slice of Tuscany” Linda from My Full Wine Glass writes about “Discovering Torrette from Tiny Valle d’Aosta.” Lynn from Savor the Harvest adds “Head to Italy’s Lazio Wine Region for Cesanese #ItalianFWT” Katarina from Grape Vine Adventures takes us to Calabria with “Sustainable Wines for the Curious Mind from Calabria” and here at Avvinare, I will be posting about “Basilicata and its Viticultural Gems – #ItalianFWT”
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