Gaglioppo, red wine grape variety grown in the Calabria region of Italy. One of the most ancient varieties. Some believe it was the grape behind Krimisa, a wine made by the ancient Greeks that was served as a reward to Olympic game winners. Gaglioppo finds its etymological roots in a Greek word meaning “beautiful feet”.

Parents | Gaglioppo is a natural crossing between Sangiovese and Mantonico. In some places, Gaglioppo is erroneously nicknamed Magliocco, which is a distinct variety and therefore not a synonym.

Where grown | Calabria: Cirò DOC. | Bivongi DOC. | Terre di Cosenza DOC. | Lamezia DOC. | Savuto DOC. | Elsewhere in Italy: Some plantings in Campania, Le Marche and Sicily.

Wines | Mostly dry and still varietal wines as well as blends. In Calabria, the best blends are often made with the Maglioccos.

Viticulture | Frost resistant yet susceptible to drought, Gaglioppo is sensitive to many vine diseases and thus not an easy variety to grow. When combined with its abundant tannins and easy-to-oxidize color, Gaglioppo can easily earn the title of being one of the most challenging grapes to grow and vinify.

Wine style | Gaglioppo’s pale and unstable colour means its wines often show light orangey hues. The best varietal versions smell and taste of small red berries and pomegranate with an undertone of minerals and dried herbs. The worst can be disappointingly unbalanced with harsh tannins and piercing acidity.

Bibliography

See Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.104