Looking down on the terrain through an airplane window, the Statti estate is one of the more recognizable land masses, spanning 1,200 acres of vineyards, olive groves, and grazing pastures. Brothers Antonio and Alberto oversee all the operations for the family business including wine, olive oil, and fresh milk, much of which is used for cheese production.
Many of the vineyards are adjacent to the sea, which provides vital cooling winds in this otherwise hot and arid locale. The wines of Statti have gained considerable recognition in years past and have helped open the door to many other producers from the southern peninsula of Italy.
On a recent trip to New York, I had the opportunity to speak with Antonio and also winemaker Nicola Bambina about the day to day operations in Calabria.
DA: What is the climate like in Calabria?
AS: It’s a maritime climate for the most part. It’s not too cold in January or February. The summer months are typically dry with very little rainfall. Sometimes it doesn’t rain for months.
DA: Gaglioppo is Calabria’s most important native grape variety. Is it an easy grape to grow?
NB: It can be a difficult grape to work with. It buds rather late in the spring. We have to conduct a green harvest to ensure that the fruit that is left on the vine is of the best quality.
DA: What are some typical fruit flavors of Gaglioppo?
NB: The skins are very thin, so most wines are light in color with fresh cherry fruits. The grape has medium tannins, so many of the wines also have structure and power.
DA: There are many blended wines that incorporate Gaglioppo, such as your wine called, “Arvino” (see below). Does Gaglioppo blend with other grapes easily?
NB: It’s very suitable for blending. Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic grape to blend with Gaglioppo. The fruit and color of Cabernet adds a component to the finished wine.
The winery excels in both showcasing native varieties such as Gaglioppo and Greco Bianco, as well as producing blended wines that incorporate international varieties as well. “Arvino” is a blend of Galioppo and Cabernet Sauvignon. The balance between fruit and earth paints the picture that these two grapes were destined to work together. The winery will soon be releasing a sparkling wine from another grape native to Calabria: the white grape, Mantonico. To date, this will be the first commercial endeavor for a sparkling Mantonico wine.