Reading the history of Calabrian stuffed aubergines, the Gaglioppo grape immediately came to mind; it is the most important grape of Calabria, the one that gives life to Cirò DOC wine in particular.
A Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) that takes its name from the town of the same name, Cirò, located on the Ionian coast and slightly north of Grotteria, the place of origin of this splendid recipe of stuffed eggplants, which is located in Locride.
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So here we are talking about wine and Italy, traditional cuisine and food and wine pearls, beauties of which Italy is rich and that will surely return to shine when we are out of this bad period.
Gaglioppo is an indigenous grape variety, famous since the time of Greek colonization, which brought to Italy the technical knowledge and winemaking traditions born, as we all know by now, in Asia Minor, and then perfected here thanks to the contribution of the Etruscans .
What I like to remember is that this grape has among its main characteristics the resistance, the ability to adapt to the arduous climatic conditions of the area, starting from the drought … Let’s say it embodies the Calabrian spirit!
From black grapes of great character, Gaglioppo expresses itself well both in its more concentrated version, that is, in red wine, and when it also gives rise to splendid rosés, capable of rivalling the other classic rosé production areas: Puglia, Abruzzo and Lago di Garda above all.
On the nose there are the hints of red fruit and flowers upon opening, which then often turn to important spicy, even in the pink version, commonly considered the easiest. On the palate there is no shortage of tannins, the fame of Gaglioppo is to be austere and not always simple to drink, but the important thing is to approach with the correct opening.
For the recipe of stuffed aubergines alla Calabrese, despite its richness, the pink version is certainly recommended, with a body suitable for a dish that has no structure and very high reduction.
We can cite large and famous companies, such as Librandi, or even smaller in size, and I think of Cataldo Calabretta. In both cases we are talking about wineries that can be considered ambassadors of a respectable Calabrian drink.
Cirò Rosato DOC is an excellent pairing with aubergines stuffed according to the Grotteria recipe because the aromas of basil and filling will surely be well supported by the spicy hints of Gaglioppo.
The fatty and oily part of the dish (especially in the fried version) will be contrasted by the acidity and flavour of this historic wine, while the not excessive structure of the rosé version of the wine will perfectly adapt to the tenderness of the stuffed eggplants.
In short, a combination of great pleasure, which deserves to be followed perhaps by a great Calabrian dessert. The reason?
Well, because thinking about a sweet dish we can get closer to Locride and Grotteria, to discover another pearl, even rarer, of Calabrian oenology. The Greco di Bianco DOC, a passito wine more unique than rare. Needless to say, we recommend that you try it if you have the opportunity to find it in a wine shop or restaurant.