Bivongi Wine: a protected denomination (DOC)

15.1.2021

If you hear of a delicious white, red or “Rosè” wine, coming from the town of Bivongi, you are talking about  a rare Bivongi “Bianco” (an Italian word meaning “white wine”), an authentic Mediterranean and Calabrian wine rated DOC (a so called protected denomination, acronym of “Denominazione di Origine Controllata”).

The white version of this wine is relatively rare. The red and rosè wines represent the majority of production (Bivongi “Rosso” is two years old before commercial release, of course after six months in barrel). The latter are made from grapes of Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, Nocera and Calabrese (Nero d’Avola). The white comes from Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Ansonica grapes.

The Bivongi wine is Sparkling when white, intense when red or rosè, and it is rated DOC since 1996. Bivongi DOC was formed in that year (1996) to represent the small amount of hectares planted way down on the east coast of Calabria’s toe shaped peninsula, while the more famous Ciro is on the north of the same coast and the Greco di Bianco DOC is just on the south.

Here main features of Bivongi DOC (the white wine, the best):

  • Alcool 10.5%,
  • Color: straw yellow,
  • Flavour: winey, pleasant,
  • Taste: dry, harmonic, fruity. It should be served at 45º – 49º Fahrenheit, 8º – 10º Celsius (perfect for Seafood in general).

According the official regulations, Bivongi white wine can be produced with varying blends of Greco, Montonico Bianco, Ansonica and Malvasia. Red wine is made with Gaglioppo and / or Greco Nero, while some Castiglione, Nero d’Avola and Nocera are also permitted.

THE LAND OF THE WINE

The white wine, the red and rosè versions are all produced inside the small cluster of hills on south of Catanzaro.

Further Bivongi DOC wine is produced in an area that includes 11 municipalities between the province of Reggio Calabria and the one of Catanzaro. The area has a high potential in wine production since the ancient Magna Graecia, creating a great impact on the local economy. Precisely, the production zone of Bivongi DOC includes the villages of Bivongi, Camini, Caulonia, Monasterace, Pazzano, Placanica, Riace, Stignano and Stilo in the Province of Reggio Calabria, and the village of Guardavalle in Province of Catanzaro.

No surprise that Bivongi wine has remained relatively unknown in the wine world outside Italy, given that introduction of the DOC title is only 1996. Further, another reason for being ignored is that the wine is made from vineyards in the municipalities of Bivongi, Caulonia, Monasterace, Riace and Stilo, and all of these are cut off, inside the Reggio Calabria province, from the main national wine trade; explaining why the wine is normally for local use.

Now, the area, where geographically the vineyards, are planted is the zone forming the ball of Italy’s ‘foot’, an area signed by coastal hills, the “Serre” mountain chain and the rivers, which flow towards the Ionian Sea. Therefore, due to the mountains nearby, the vineyards of Bivongi wines are located on the eastern side of the hills (in an area with a more temperate climate), mostly among the lower slopes and within a few miles of the sea. The proximity of the Mediterranean Sea is important to the terroir, but, at the same time, the producers are far from main communication routes. Therefore, this delicious and authentic Mediterranean wine is a real hidden treasure.

The mesoclimate of the area helps the high quality of the grapes. Namely, the sea helps to moderate the intense heat of the south Italian summer, and the alternation of cooling and heating generates during the day morning and afternoon breezes, which minimize the risk of fungal vine diseases. The special mesoclimatic area is large and covers Guardavalle, a municipality in the colder north of Catanzaro province.

The climatic conditions at Bivongi are magnificent, while inside the DOC Zone the other nine municipalities in the provinces of Reggio Calabria and Catanzaro, have refined, according to temperatures a little bit colder, the winemaking on the basis of traditional methods, obtaining a Bivongi wine based also on local grape varieties (such as the white Greco Bianco, Guardavalle and Montonico, and the red Gaglioppo, Greco Nero and Calabrese).

BRIEF NOTES ON BIVONGI TOWN

Bivongi is a charming little town in the north of the province of Reggio Calabria, only 8 miles from the Ionian Sea. In the past, Bivongi was better known for the woodcarving skills of its inhabitants, for its iron, silver and molybdenum mines, and for its thermal baths. Afterwards, its fame increased due to its mulberry trees, the production of wool, and its silkworm farms (called “vomvix” in Greek and believed to be at the origin of Bivongi’s name).

After this fascinating past, the village is nowadays situated on the slopes of Mount Consolino, where Bivongi dominates a valley rich with vineyards and olive groves, and crossed by the River Stilaro.

Oranges and Tangerines, Healthy Excellence of Calabria

13.10.2020

There is nothing stranger than to think that the emblem of the Mediterranean, Mandarins, Tangerines and Oranges, do not originate in this splendid land, Calabria. Among the many sources that can be cited on the subject is the wonderful book, “the Mediterranean” by Fernand Braudel which clearly states that the gardens we see in the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean scrub, the typical fruit trees of the Mediterranean does not come from here.

The spectacle that the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean opened to the Greeks was completely different over 2500 years ago. Braudel said: “If Herodotus, the father of history, who lived in the fifth century BC, returned and mixed with today’s tourists, he would encounter one surprise after another. <<I imagine him>>, wrote Lucien Febvre, <<while remakes his Periplus of the Eastern Mediterranean today. Those golden fruits among the dark green leaves of certain shrubs, oranges, lemons, mandarins, he doesn’t remember ever seeing them in his life, they come from the Far East, they were introduced by the Arabs>>”.

However, this is the past, the history. Nowadays, these citrus fruits have acclimatized here better than elsewhere. Today talking about Calabria means talking about its treasure of Mandarins, Oranges and Tangerines!

VERY TASTY AND PRECIOUS FOR HEALTH

Calabria produces about 25% of the national citrus production. There are about 44,000 citrus farms. Reggio Calabria is the province with the largest number of companies followed by that of Cosenza.

A plenty of vitamins

These two provinces always produce a quantity higher than 70% of the total for each species produced. The most cultivated species in Calabria is orange followed by clementines in the provinces of Cosenza and Catanzaro and by mandarin in all the others.

Calabria produces about 63% of the total production of clementines in Italy, 32% of oranges, 39% of other varieties of mandarins and 4.6% of lemons.

Calabria, thanks to its particular climate and the commitment of farmers, as well as being one of the most important citrus fruit producers in Italy, is characterized by the excellent quality of these products. In addition to goodness, these citrus fruits have substances that are precious for our health, among them vitamin C stands out. The human body is unable to produce or store ascorbic acid, essential for life. Lack of this vitamin can lead to bleeding and scarring problems. Vitamin C is important for the proper functioning of the immune system and the synthesis of collagen in the body, it serves to allow the absorption of iron and has an antioxidant action. Collagen strengthens blood vessels, skin, muscles and bones. Humans cannot create collagen without vitamin C.

ORANGES AND TANGERINES: A PANACEA FOR MOOD

We may point out that fruits and vegetables in general are not only good for health from a physical point of view but are also a panacea for mood. Increasing the consumption improves psychological well-being in a short time, two weeks are enough. This is what emerges from a New Zealand study, from the University of Otago, published in the “Plos One” Journal.

Of course, there are some variables that greatly influence the presence of vitamin C in food, from when it is harvested to when it arrives in our intestines.

Delicious and simple mandarins

The contact of vitamin C with the air tends to decrease its concentration in food; when, for example, an orange is squeezed and vitamin C comes into contact with the oxygen in the air, it oxidizes and a part is lost. Heat tends to “destroy” vitamin C; for this reason it is much more convenient to eat raw food whenever possible. The freshness of the food is also essential for the presence of vitamin C; the more time passes from the collection of food to its entry into the body, the more the presence of vitamin C decreases.

In fresh spinach stored for 7 days, at 4 ° C, only 20% of the total amount of vitamin C remains, from this it can be deduced that oranges stored for months have very little vitamin C.

 The 10 fruits richest in vitamin C are:

  • Currants  200 mg
  • Kiwi 85 mg
  • Strawberries and Clementines 54 mg
  • Oranges and lemons 50 mg
  • Tangerines 42 mg
  • Grapefruit 40 mg
  • Melon 32 mg
  • Raspberries 25 mg
  • Kaki 23 mg
  • Blackberries 19 mg
Colors, Health and Beauty

The other 10 vegetables richest in vitamin C are

  • Peppers 151 mg
  • Broccoli and rocket 110 mg
  • Brussels sprouts and turnip leaves 81 mg
  • Cauliflower 59 mg
  • Spinach 54 mg
  • Cabbage 47 mg
  • Endive 35 mg
  • Celery 32 mg
  • Asparagus and chard 24 mg
  • Tomatoes 21 mg

 The daily levels of vitamin C intake recommended by our national health system are as follows:

  • Infants (up to 1 year) 35 mg
  • Children (1 to 10 years) 45 mg
  • Male and female children (11 to 14 years) 50 mg
  • Adults 60 mg
  • Expectant mothers 70 mg
  • Lactating women 90 mg