In the Amazing Greek Calabria Back
We are a group of nature lover friends, who in 2012, with the establishment of the Cooperativa Agricola Terre Grecaniche, wanted to create a social laboratory whose mission is to help rebuild a community capable of a promising future, focusing on people and relationships. This laboratory has its roots, riza, in the language of the Greeks of Calabria, which feeds off the culture and ancient history of Greek Calabria.Our cooperative produces organic grapes in its own vineyards that overlook the promontory of Capo Spartivento between land and the Ionian sea, in one of the most picturesque and unspoilt areas of the Aspromonte, Greek Calabria. Our vineyards, to the south of the Italian peninsula, breathe the heat of the earth and the sea breeze in the area of production of IGT Palizzi, one of the most famous red wines of Calabrian viticulture.We, the members of Terre Grecaniche, along with producing good wines, are interested in experiencing a social enterprise model that sinks its roots into the quality traditions of the area, promoting and safeguarding the territory and its peculiarities, and producing wines respectful of the “terroir” and not solely on the market.These are the ingredients that, together with natural ones, contribute to give a special taste to our wines; one of friendship and solidarity.
The Area and its History… Video
The territory of Greek Calabria begins from the extreme southern tip of Aspromonte, which overlooks the Ionian Sea, until the headlands of Capo d’Armi and Capo Spartivento. The coastal strip retains cosy beaches that couples with community settlements along the coast. An alternative landscape is instead located in the interior, mostly within the boundaries of the National Park. There you can find a peaceful and naturally calm ambience consisting of majestic rivers and wild mountains, which slope down to the sea with trails and spring meadows of unique beauty.This area, with ancient cultural roots that stem from the early colonisation of the Greeks, has remained over time a secular cradle of the linguistic minority, ellenofona (a Greek dialect), unchanged, it still guardes traces of its ancient nature of the crossroads of the Mediterranean. In fact, there is much historical evidence of the presence and coexistence of different cultures in this area. Greeks, Arabs, and Jews settled in a long and peaceful coexistence in this peasant and pastoral corner of the extreme south of Calabria, which marks a history of over two thousand five hundred years, leaving marks in the rich local culture.In the villages of the interior of Bova, Gallicianò, of Roghudi the language of the Greeks of Calabria – an ancient language with roots that reach the magno-greca age – is still spoken amongst its elders.Along the beds of rivers and hills fragrant bergamot fields follow each other between other crops. From this citrus fruit, which grows thanks to the special microclimate only in the Ionian strip of the province of Reggio Calabria, the essence that constitutes the natural basis of the most refined world perfume production is extracted.Travelling in Greek Calabria means travelling into the history, traditions, architecture, tastes, culture, sounds, dance, landscapes and colours that have always distinguished its identity. The Ionian side of Aspromonte offers scenarios and excursions for every kind of visitor: steep paths of haunting beauty for those who love adventure, or more simple ones for people who want to admire and enjoy nature walking. Additionally, in the summer there is the ethno-musical Festival Paleariza, which was awarded in 2011 by the Ministry of Tourism under the “Heritage of Italy” in the section dedicated to cultural events that enhance the image of Italy.
The Village of Palizzi
“No spot wilder or more extraordinary than Palizzi can attract the eye of an artist”.
Palizzi includes all the elements of fairytale villages: a castle situated on a cliff, a medieval village at its feet, and a bridge like a donkey saddle that has been overlooking a stream since the fourteenth century.The name “Palizzi” most likely derives from the Byzantine “Politzion”, or “small town”. The village is lovely, with a settlement that seems as if to be chiselled into a rock.The Centre of Palizzi is characterised by Catoj, local basements where farmers guarded barrels of red wine, now known today as IGT Palizzi Red.
Terre Grecaniche: History of Lands
They blend and there they live together, the sacred and profane. Our Grecaniche lands are hidden, but they leave traces, and these traces speak of a rich historical past, bordering with a legend.Between Spropoli and Capo Spartivento where most likely Zeus of Alece once stood, is the sanctuary built by Epizefiri Locresi at Alece River in Ancient Greece, which was dedicated to Olympian Zeus. It was a mythical and historical course of water that marked the boundary between Locri and Rhegion, which is the ancient name of the Greek colony of Reggio Calabria.It is here, between the torrent of Spropoli and the torrent of Galati that we find Aranghìa. Identified by scholar Sabbione, it is the ancient Alece River, where Aranghìa wine is born from the Terre Grecaniche Cooperative.Heraclitus argued: “You can not go down in the same river twice”. This is what the philosopher of “Panta rei,” of “everything flows”, said. If it is true that everything changes, it is equally true that what today may go unnoticed before our very eyes, was once flowing lush and prosperous.Although you cannot touch the water of the same river twice, the traces remain. These are our lands, our history.
Terre Grecaniche: Land of the Wine
Viticulture in Magna Graecia was probably developed by the guided Pelasgian populations from Enotro, around 1650 A.C., which indicates the ends of the Italian peninsula with the name of Enotria: the land of wine. However, it was with the Romans that the viticulture experienced a sharp increase, which lasted until the sixth century A.C. In “Exposititio totius mundi”, written by an anonymous commenter of the fourth century A.D., the wine of the Bruzio is defined: “Vinun multum et optimum”, meaning: “wine in large quantities and of excellent quality”.The archaeological remains found on the Ionian coast of Reggio underly an abundant production of wine, which at this point suggests the existence of actual marketing chains. Bottled in special amphorae and made locally, the wine of Greek Calabria reached distant destinations until late antiquity in the Mediterranean. Especially in Roma, where Monte Testaccio is located, there is still a preservation of many of the remains of amphorae produced in southern Reggio, with the specific purpose of exporting wine.The vocation to viticulture, noted in the fifth century A.D., and also by Flavio Magno Aurelio Cassiodoro, is evidence in the considerable number of early medieval millstones that were used up until recently, which had been carved into the rock and surfaced out into the open. These are found especially in the area of Ferruzzano.The millstone-style rock consisted of two tanks dug into the sandstone, one higher (buttìscu) and one lower (pinàci), to communicate through a hole. The grapes were poured into buttìscu, with its hole clogged with clay, trodden, and left to stand there for one day and one night; therefore, eliminating the cap to let the juice drain into pinàci.The merit of scientific research on millstones goes to Professor Orlando Sculli, who has surveyed and catalogued 137 millstones of about 700 identified in Ferruzzano. His painstaking work is also directed to the discovery and recovery of well over 126 indigenous grape varieties, which is of extraordinary importance for the key readings of anthropological, historical and business areas of our territory.
ORGANIC PRODUCTION: A NATURAL CHOICE FOR TERRE GRECANICHE
A natural choice for the Terre Grecaniche Cooperative is that of organic farming, based on the adoption of environmentally sound production methods of human and animal welfare and the protection of the environmental biodiversity of the area.In face, the Terre Grecaniche Agricultural Cooperative started in 2013, with ICEA – Istituto di Certificazione Etica e Ambientale (Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification). The procedures for organic certification of grapes and wines are produced in accordance with the manner prescribed by the Regulations (EC) No 203/2012, which stabilises rules for the production of organic wine products and also defines the methods of vinification, approved by the Standing Committee on organic Farming (SCOF).With the collaboration of ICEA, the techniques of the production of grapes and wine-making of Terre Grecaniche Cooperative will be continuously improved and made more sustainable and organic with the aim of achieving the certification chain “from land to fork”, to ensure product quality and protection of the consumer.
The vineyards and the vines
The vineyards of Terre Grecaniche Cooperative placed 200 meters above sea level on clay soils, consist mainly of native variety plants that are arranged with a regular planting system of 1m x 2m and grown with pruned cordon, with a density of about 5,000 plants per hectare. The yield is about 50 quintals per hectare. The plants are disetanee, that is, of different planting periods that varies from 12 years, for the oldest part, to about 3 years, for the recently planted part.The grape varieties grown are , Nerello Mascalese, Calabrese, the Alicante, Syrah, and the Chardonnay Guardavalle.
The agricultural practices of cultivation
The agronomic soil management aims to reduce the processes that destroy the soil structure and weaken the power of absorption of the roots. They are made of surface processes during the late winter and early spring to remove the turf and maintain the availability of organic matter through spontaneous grassing and treatment of pruning residues.During the early summer, a mechanical weed control is carried out by a shredder and cutter bar for the defense of the culture from the summer fires, and then followed by a second operation of mechanized weeding in late summer, for the elimination of pests and to prepare the ground for the manual collection that comes after.As for parasites control that is typical of vine (downy mildew, powdery mildew, moth), are some adopted IPM techniques which exclusively involve the use of products of natural origin such as copper, salts, and sulphur.The harvest is done manually between the end of August and the first two weeks of September.
Vinification and ageing of wine
The Terre Grecaniche Cooperative uses only the oenological products and processes authorised by Regulation (EC) No 203/2012 for wine making. In particular, when regarding the ingredients and the process aids, only those of natural origin are used (vegetable, animal and microbiological, including yeasts and bacteria), with preferences of those of biological origin.In the cellar, none of the following oenological practices is practical: i) cold partial concentration; ii) elimination of sulfur dioxide by physical processes; iii) electrodialysis treatment to ensure the tartaric stabilization of wine; iv) partial dealcoholization of wine; v) treatment with cation exchangers to ensure the tartaric stabilization of wine.The cellar is equipped with stainless steel tanks and a bottling facility of GAI of 1,000 bottles/hour. It is completely energy self-sufficient as it uses solar energy produced by a photovoltaic system.
After being gently de-stemmed and pressed, the selected grapes are placed in stainless steel tanks, where they remain in maceration, at a controlled temperature for seven days with various pumping and delestage to enable optimal extraction of aromatic and colouring substances. Next, after pressing, the fermentation continues in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, the wine is poured. It remains to complete the malolactic fermentation and maturing afterwards in stainless steel tanks. A portion of the wine is aged for 10 months in casks of 500 litres, and before being marketed is bottle-aged for at least three months.
The grapes undergo a soft pressing. It follows a static clarification and the subsequent extraction of the clean must. With the introduction of selected yeasts, the activation of the alcoholic fermentation takes place at a stable 18°. After fermentation, the wine is refined and aged in stainless steel tanks before bottling.
The grapes, after a light pressing without destemming, undergo a soft pressing. It follows a static clarification and the subsequent extraction of the clean must. With the introduction of selected yeasts, begins the activation of the alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature. After fermentation, the wine is aged on fine lees and matures in stainless steel tanks before bottling.