Du Cropio

Kerry and Giusseppe Ippolito at the trattoria Aquila d'Oro in Ciro (Mar 2012) Du-Cropio-Damis-Riserva
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On occasion, and over many years, we have cast a glance at a map of the southern reaches of Italy and have contemplated making an extensive exploration of regions not represented in our portfolio. Each time, after dipping our toes into the water and finding it to be tepid at best, we have conserved our energy and concentrated on our work in the northern and western reaches of Italy. To my great surprise and delight then, I encountered Giuseppe Ippolito, proprietor of the Du Cropio estate in Ciro Marina (Calabria), and his wines at a dinner I attended in Rome in December 2011 with our dear friend, Luigi Anania, producer extraordinaire of Brunello di Montalcino at his estate “La Torre”.

Expecting either light, insipid wines or overripe “confettura”, I was stunned by the elegance, breed and complexity of the three red wines of the Du Cropio estate which we drank that night over dinner. It was enough to oblige me to catch a plane from Milan to Crotone in Calabria in March of 2012 to visit Giuseppe at the estate to confirm this phenomenon in situ. The town of Ciro Marina sits on the Ionian Sea facing Greece, the land from which the “local” grapes of this area originated, transported across the sea nearly 3000 years ago. The area remains primitive and raw in a certain sense with sea breezes cooling the zone and steep hillsides just meters inland that sit as a backdrop to the ocean setting and provide a challenging but compelling site for the vines of Galliopo, Malvasia Nera and Greco Nero.

Du Cropio in local dialect means “doctor of agronomy” and reflects the fact that the Ippolito family has long been involved in the growing of grapes in the region. The estate encompasses a total of thirty (30) hectares, eight (8) of which are on the plains immediately inland from and within the confines of the town of Ciro Marina and twenty-two of which are tucked into the hillsides surrounding the village of Ciro, several more miles inland and at a considerably higher elevation. The soil, a mix of clay and limestone, is poor with excellent drainage which is reinforced by the steeply sloped hillside vineyards, conditions that are ideal for producing small crops of highly concentrated fruit. Most of the grapes harvested at the estate are sold either at the time of harvest or as bulk wine thereafter. Then, the finest wines are kept to be vinified at the estate and sold as “Du Cropio”.

Three red wines are produced: a Calabria Rosso called “Serra Sanguigna”, a Ciro Rosso Classico Superiore known as “Dom Giuva” and a Ciro Rosso Riserva named “Damis”. The vineyards are maintained according to organic principles with some of the vineyards now being worked by horse and plow. At harvest, the grapes are crushed and undergo the primary fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel cuves; then, the wines are ultimately racked into large oak “botte” to age before being bottled. The wines are neither fined nor filtered and they are left to age further in bottle for 18 months before being released to the market.

Du-Cropio-Serra-Sanguigna Serra Sanguigna Calabria Rosso: Serra Sanguigna is the name of a prime zone in the interior of the Ciro appellation that is not only particularly beautiful but is responsible for producing classic wines of the appellation. The hillside vineyards are planted to a mix of Gaglioppo, Malvasia Nera and Greco Nero and from there, on a clear day, one can see the entire Gulf of Taranto to the north and the Capocolonna promontory to the south. The “Serra Sanguigna” is generally composed of 70% Gaglioppo, 15% Malvasia Nera and 15% Greco Nero. It is the most rustic wine of the estate marked by a powerful plum-infused fruit, robust in weight, deep ruby in color and surprisingly lithe on the palate. An age-worthy wine, our first release of Serra Sanguigna is the 2008 vintage released to the market in 2012.
Du-Cropio-Don-Giuva Dom Giuva Ciro Rosso Classico Superiore: A wine produced exclusively from the Gaglioppo grape (on occasion perhaps 5% Greco Nero may find its way into the blend), the Dom Giuva again captures the power of this dark-skinned and lusty grape while maintaining a scintillating brightness that keeps the wine surprisingly fresh. A wine of great length and persistence whose mark of distinction and class is best expressed by the hint of bitter cherry in the finish. The tannins are forceful yet graceful with a grainy texture and lush ripeness.
Du-Cropio-Damis-Riserva Damis Ciro Rosso Riserva: The Damis is the most profound wine of the domaine. Produced exclusively from the Gaglioppo grape planted to steep hillside vineyards above and around the village of Ciro in the hills above the sea, Damis is a selection of the best grapes from the harvest. The wine is dense, again showing the deep, plum-like fruit of the Gaglioppo. An extended fermentation is followed by a long “elevage” in large barrel. The wine is bottled without fining or filtration. It is most definitely a wine capable of aging gracefully. The Damis 2005 was placed on the market in 2012!
Download Du Cropio tech sheet
Domaine NameDu Cropio Vini
Family/Owners NameIppolito Giuseppe
How many years has the family owned the domaine?For ever
How many generations?Approximately 4 generations
How many hectares of vines are leased?Approximately 30 hectares
How many hectares of vines are owned?None
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? Grapes are organic, wines are not.
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).It is a non-invasive management.
Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning? How do you fertilize?Grapes are always harvested by hand
Usually, do you buy or sell the grapes? Please kindly reply accuratelyWe do not purchase grapes
Do you sell the wine made by you in bulk?No
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationCirò DOC
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Gaglioppo
% Alcohol by volume0.135
# of bottles produced25000
Grams of Residual Sugar3.5 grams per liter
INFORMATION ON VINEYARDS AND VITICULTURE
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsCropia vineyard in the town of Cirò Marina
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth-east
Soil Types(s)Medium-textured soil on hillsides containing clay and limestone.
Average vine age (per vineyard)35-40
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7146
Approximate harvest date(s)First week in October
METEOROLOGICAL DETAILS / GROWTH CONDITIONS / EVENTS DURING THIS YEAR AND DURING THE HARVEST Cirò has a unique terrain with little precipitation and a lot of sunshine all year long. Pruned-spur cordon-trained vines.
DETAILS OF VINIFICATION AND CELLAR
whole cluster, % destemmed, %Due to our climate, we do not need to destem, because the yield is 1.5-2.00 Kilograms of grapes per vine stock
Fermentation: vessel type and size180-hectoliter stainless steel vats
Duration of contact with lees7-8 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Cultured yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationDestemming and crushing, maceration with pumace for 15-20 days, yeasts added for 8 months, racking 5 or 6 times, stirring on the lees and malolactic fermentation.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s) 50-100 hectoliter vats, 25-50 hectoliter barrels and final ageing in bottles.
Duration of elevageMinimum 3 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market4-6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? No filtration or clarification
Are sulphites added? If so, at what point in the vinification or in the inveccha- ment / bottling? How many milligrams of sulfites per liter remain in the product finale? Added when necessary after some tests 20 milligrams per liter
VINO #1: DOM GIUVADom Giuva is the wine of "land medicine man". In Greek language "cropio" is a sort of natural fertilizer, and from this ancient origin, in our dialect, there are some words like "cropia" and "cropio". Therefore, the medico Du Cropio is the doctor of land, the agronomist. (A passage from the interview of Mario Soldati to Giovanni Ippolito, about Ciro's wine, in the book "Vino a! Vino" ).
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationD.O.C .: Rosso Classico Superiore
Cepage/UvaggioGaglioppo 80% ·Greco Nero 20%
% Alcohol by volume13.5 % by vol.
INFORMATION ON VINEYARDS AND VITICULTURE
Soil Types(s)hill land limestone medium mixture
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)10.000 plants per hectare (couple vine plants to get a reduction of bunches of grapes for a better quality)
Approximate harvest date(s)Beginning of October
DETAILS OF VINIFICATION AND CELLAR
Fermentation: vessel type and sizetemperature controlled stainless fermenting tanks
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Ageing tartaric stabilization into big barrels for 18 months, without fining or filtering before bottling.
Do you practice fining and filtration? No
VINO #2: Serra SanguignaThe Serra Sanguigna name comes from the need to identify the wine with native land. Serra Sanguigna is one of the most beautiful and charming places in the Ciro area. When the sky is very clear you can enjoy a breathless panorama: the gulf of Taranto at north direction, and the south coast until Capo Colonna promontory looking at south.
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationIGT Calabria: Rosso
Cepage/UvaggioGaglioppo 70%, Malvasia 15%, Greco Nero 15%
% Alcohol by volume14 % by vol.
INFORMATION ON VINEYARDS AND VITICULTURE
Soil Types(s)hill land limestone medium mixture
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7,000 plants per hectare (couple vine plants to get a reduction of bunches of grapes for a better quality)
Approximate harvest date(s)Beginning of October
DETAILS OF VINIFICATION AND CELLAR
Fermentation: vessel type and sizetemperature controlled stainless fermenting tanks
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Ageing tartaric stabilization into big barrels for 18 months, without fining or filtering before bottling.
Do you practice fining and filtration? No
VINO #3: DAMISDamis is my mother's maiden name. After years of aging, the Gaglioppo expresses all its purity in the Reserve. It is an austere and elegant red wine, produced exclusively from hillside vines, with a long persistence. It has hints of balsamic , juniper, liquorish and walnut liqueur. Time is the bes ally of this wine, which maintains its..._,lively and brilliant colour.
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationCiro D.O.C.: Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva
Cepage/UvaggioGaglioppo 100%
% Alcohol by volume13.5 % by vol.
INFORMATION ON VINEYARDS AND VITICULTURE
Soil Types(s)hill land limestone medium mixture
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7,140 plants per hectare (couple vine plants to get a reduction of bunches of grapes for a better quality)
Approximate harvest date(s)Beginning of October
DETAILS OF VINIFICATION AND CELLAR
Fermentation: vessel type and sizetemperature controlled stainless fermenting tanks
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Ageing tartaric stabilization into big barrels for 18 months, without fining or filtering before bottling.
Do you practice fining and filtration? No
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