Liber Pater Cirò Rosso from Ippolito 1845

Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Solo Vino, Zipp’s, Sentyrz, Sunfish Cellars, France 44, Premier Liquors

Grapes: Gaglioppo

Region: Italy

Vintage: 2011

Liber Pater Cirò Rosso

I’m not going to grumble about how this was the worst winter in the history of the world and I’m on more meds now than ever. What I’ll do instead is recount how I made it through the doom and gloom: by finding comfort.

In times of strife, we look for a comfort zone, that place of stability often called a “happy place.” My “happy place” happens to snuggle between a good bottle of red wine and a delicious hand made pizza.

I found nirvana, if for only an hour, with a bottle of Ippolito Liber Pater Cirò Rosso. Why was it so comforting? So familiar? So enjoyable? Could it be that this wine hails from Calabria where half my maternal ancestry is from?

When referring to Italy as boot-shaped, Calabria is the region in Southern Italy that forms “the toe”. This red wine is 100% gaglioppo (gah-L’YEE-OHP-poh) hand harvested grapes that are locally grown. Liber Pater (meaning Free Father in the fancy, dead language that is Latin) Rosso includes flavors of smoke, earth and sour cherry hitting your tastebuds with soft herbs and lingering tannins haunting you after you’ve swallowed.

I was recently tipped off to St. Paul’s Morelli’s Market. Have you been? http://www.morellismarket.com/Morelli’s Market Morelli’s isn’t going to blow your mind. it’s nothing much to look at on the outside nor the inside. It’s not full of sexy gimmicks, or newfangled splendor. It’s a no frills, get in and get out kinda haunt. But, they’ve been doing it for decades and that’s gotta count for something. From what I could tell, it does. Likely (and appropriately) it was grandfathered in as both a deli and a liquor store, fully equipped with an old man delivering your libations to the car. [Oh, and did I mention this place is cash ONLY?] I walked up to the freezer “aisle” and saw made-in-house frozen pizzas. I grabbed a sausage and mushroom topped pie, probably a vino of some kind, and off I went.

To home I sped, sliding along the frosty roads, to find my happy place. Turned on the oven to preheat, and cracked open the Liber Pater Rosso so it could breathe a bit. When the pie finally finished, I pulled it out of the oven, and, it was kind of, well, beautiful. The crust crisped to perfection and oozed creamy mozzarella over the sides. Homemade sausage and plump mushrooms glistened as if proud to be on this masterpiece. One sip of the Liber Pater Rosso to marry the flavors in my mouth made me want to get down and thank God for my taste buds. I was home, I was comfortable and I was whole.

If you’re looking for a dose of comfort and stability, or your boss is being a dick and you need an omni-pleasing, hit the spot sensation, grab a bottle of Ippolito’s Liber Pater Cirò Rosso and a Morelli’s pizza. Even if you’re not Italian, you can take their (our?) cue to eat, drink and enjoy life like one.

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