Cosenza considers flagship grape

Terre di Cosenza, the body that represents wines from DOC Cosenza, hosted a seminar at Vinitaly this week to discuss the possibility of elevating and promoting Magliocco as its flagship grape.

Magliocco seminar 3 copy

(l-r) Professor Vincenzo Gerbi and Jean Natoli (translator far right) discuss the potential of Magliocco at the Terre di Cosenza stand

Speaking at the seminar were professor Vincenzo Gerbi, who lectures on oenology at the University of Turin, and Jean Natoli an oenological consultant in the Languedoc and founder of the international laboratory for grape analysis in Montpellier.

Although comparatively little known, more attention has been put into the study of Magliocco in Calabria with the recent founding of the Accademia del Magliocco.

With a range of vineyards differing in altitude and distance from the coast, Terre di Cosenza is hoping to highlight the differences there are to be had and make Magliocco as integral to Cosenza as Sangiovese is to Tuscany and Nebbiolo to Piedmont – and distinct from Gaglioppo which plays a more prominent role in the rest of Calabria.

“Should you push Magliocco?” asked Natoli, “All the great regions tend to focus on one grape. France and Northern Italy have done it and its increasing in Spain as well.”

During the seminar and tasting, both Gerbi and Natoli commented on the lack of awareness surrounding the grape – including their own – but added that from the samples they had tasted it was clear it had the structure to produce top wines.

Both called the grape “original” but also commented on its “rusticity” at present and the need to “domesticate” it more.

“Some facts about the grape are missing,” said Gerbi, “but the potential is there.”

Speaking to the drinks business after the seminar, Natoli added that what was key for Terre di Cosenza and the Accademia del Magliocco was on picking the right spots for the grape.

“If it’s not planted in the right places it will always be rustic,” he said. “But with better maturity and understanding of where the grape performs well then great things could come.

“It’s a very pleasant grape and, with time possibly even generations, we could easily see ‘cru’ emerging.

“It’s a bit like Carignan in the Languedoc. Apart from the really old vines it was generally thought of as rustic but actually is capable of a lot more.

“It’s very encouraging to see a grape with originality and I hope to see more in the future.”

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