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Wines from Liguria

Ligurian wines offer a unique and fascinating glimpse of the Italian wine scene. Production is limited in quantity, because it has to deal with an impervious landscape, mainly mountainous and hilly, rich in forests, which often makes the cultivation of vines a heroic undertaking. The variety of indigenous grape varieties such as Vermentino, Pigato and Rossese, to name the most famous, and the sedimentation of practices and traditions that date back to ancient times help to paint a portrait of great typicality, in which the fresh hilly breezes combine with the scents of the sea, outlining an unmistakably Mediterranean aromatic heritage.

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Ligurian wines offer a unique and fascinating glimpse of the Italian wine scene. Production is limited in quantity, because it has to deal with an impervious landscape, mainly mountainous and hilly, rich in forests, which often makes the cultivation of vines a heroic undertaking. The variety of indigenous grape varieties such as Vermentino, Pigato and Rossese, to name the most famous, and the sedimentation of practices and traditions that date back to ancient times help to paint a portrait of great typicality, in which the fresh hilly breezes combine with the scents of the sea, outlining an unmistakably Mediterranean aromatic heritage.

The Uniqueness of Ligurian Wines

The great efforts and sacrifices required to cultivate vines in Liguria are repaid and amply justified by the great typicality that Ligurian wines manage to convey. In the best cases it is possible to relive, with the senses, the emotions aroused by the evocative landscapes of green hills that plunge into the sea and that translate into the glass as a mixture of Mediterranean and marine scents, aromatic herbs and ripe fruit, with mineral, savoury and marine crystallisations. Ligurian Vermentino, for example, produced on the east coast and in particular in the Colli di Luni, bears the unmistakable traits of the elements present in the area: lots of flowers, citrus fruits, aromatic herbs and sea water. The same can be said of the Pigato cultivated on the Riviera di Ponente, which should probably be considered a particular clone of the same vine. Cinqueterre Bianco encapsulates the magic of one of the most evocative maritime territories of our peninsula and is produced from native vines found only in this context, such as Bosco and Albarola. From the same grapes, which are dried, comes the rare and precious Sciacchetrà, a sweet and concentrated nectar of incomparable aromatic richness. The production excellence of the region does not only include whites, but also reds with a fresh, subtle and Mediterranean profile, endowed with character, freshness and flavour. Rossese di Dolceacqua is one of the most famous names and is made using only the Rossese grape. Other grapes cultivated are Vermentino Nero, Granaccia, Ciliegiolo, Sangiovese, Barbera and Ormeasco, a territorial clone of Piedmont's Dolcetto. This variety of places and vines gives rise to small typical and territorial productions of high value, obtained by small artisan producers such as Walter De Battè, Nino Perrino or Fausto De Andreis of Rocche del Gatto, or by more famous wineries such as Cantina Bisson, which reaches medium size.



Regional Production

The wines of Liguria are very often the result of bold, heroic winemaking, carried out on very steep terraces that, on the coastal strip, slope steeply down into the sea. With patience, hard work and a lot of effort, local producers cultivate vines in a difficult area, where all the work has to be done manually and nothing can be mechanised. The tendency is increasingly to enhance the value of indigenous vines and to manage the vineyard in a sustainable and ecological way, also to preserve the incredible beauty of the scenery. Vineyards are scattered throughout the region, divided into very small plots totalling just over 2,000 hectares. In order to understand the fragmentation and small size of the vineyards, it is useful to bear in mind that almost 2/3 of the producers do not own more than 1 hectare. This is a very small area, especially when compared to that of other regions, marked by structural difficulties due mainly to the slopes and the irregular shape of the hills. This is why the vineyards are laid out in terraces, ridges and levelled slopes. The region's small overall production includes both red wine, particularly renowned for its freshness and aromas, and white wine. It is almost always made with vinification and ageing only in steel, to maintain the primary aromas of the grapes and the scents of the land intact, but there can also be modest use of barriques and large casks for the more intense and structured expressions.



At the Table with Typical Dishes

The best Ligurian wines manage to embody the charm and beauty of the landscape in which they are born. Vermentino and Pigato are excellent with seafood and vegetable dishes such as Cappon magro, because of their freshness and a marine flavour that makes the meal tasty and satisfying. When they reach a good structure, perhaps due to maceration on the skins, they are also perfect with trenette al pesto and Ligurian-style sea bass, with potatoes and Taggiasche olives, as well as with focaccia, savoury pies and fresh cheeses. Cinque Terre Bianco is particularly suitable with shellfish, salted anchovies and mixed fried fish. Its aromaticity and freshness will enhance the most delicious and tasty seafood dishes. Other whites, not very structured, can be served with linguine alla Genovese with seafood, basil, tomato and mozzarella or with whitebait, the small blue fish served with oil and lemon. Rossese di Dolceacqua or Ormeasco can be paired with savoury fish dishes such as red tuna musciame or buridda when young and not very structured. The more intense, evolved and full-bodied expressions are instead to be preferred with earthy dishes such as pansotti with walnut sauce, pappardelle with meat sauce and rabbit Ligurian style with olives and pine nuts. Finally, Schiacchetrà is perfect with typical desserts such as torta sacripantina, amaretti or panforte. The best expressions, however, are for meditation and should be drunk alone.

Would you like to know more about the fascinating world of wines from this region? On the Callmewine wine shop you will find Ligurian wines for sale online and on offer at the best prices. Compare all the labels and buy the one that suits you best.