The region is also called the “Gulf of Poets” because the English poets spend their time here in the first half of the 19th century.
Known as the Italian Riviera, this thin, beautiful strip of rugged land with its Mediterranean climate and poor, stony soils is dominated by hills with sheer drops that almost fall straight into the sea. These steep elevations make vine growing a challenge, resulting in scattered vineyards with limited production. In some areas the slopes are so steep that the land has to be cultivated by hand.
Most wine is the work of small, artisanal producers who have to grow their vines on terraces carved from the rocky slopes. The soil's high limestone content is particularly good for white grapes, as it gives the wines their minerality. Unfortunately, the wines are almost as difficult to find as the land is to cultivate; very few wines find their way across international borders. Although there are 100 varieties grown in this region, Liguria is generally known for its white wines made from Vermentino or the Vermentino bio-type; Pigato is known for the spots that appear on the mature grapes. A unique red comes in the form of Rossese, a variety that creates a subtle, fruity, and spicy wine.
Vermentino does best in poorly fertile soils and salty marine air, with dry climates and bright sun exposure. Vermentino white wine can range from light and fresh to structured and high in alcohol, offering a large range of flavors and aromas. Typically Vermentino wines are dominant in citrus to ripe tropical fruit flavors with floral and herbal notes and a saline finish.
For Rossese, soil is crucial, because this grape is a very good translation of its terroir. Wines are always vibrant with high acidity and a dry mouthfeel. Aromas range from violets, red currant, and graphite to roses and strawberries.
The name Pigato means “spotted” in the local dialect. As a biotype of Vermentino, Pigato has a similar saline nuance but creamier texture. Aromas and flavors recall delicate notes of apricot, peach, and ripe apple with musky floral hints.
Liguria is a region that is geographically very diverse. Though the first thing that visitors fall in love with is the long stretch of sea that touches the whole south of the Italian Riviera. The north part of the region is snuggled into the mountains as it borders the neighbors of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. The cuisine is an interesting mixture of land and sea characterized particularly by fish, wild herbs, and white meats. White grapes match perfectly with Ligurian food. Crisp and aromatic without being sweet or fruity, many can pick up notable salinity. For red wine lovers, another offering is the famous Rossese di Dolceaqua, it’s aromatic and light to medium-bodied and goes very well with one of Liguria’s favorite dishes, stewed rabbit.