The Wines of Liguria
This slender coastal region lies just south of Piemonte, bordering with France on the West. Although its vineyards are sparse, Liguria has 8 DOC zones and a further 4 IGTs. The best known wine among the DOCs is Cinque Terre, made along the Riviera between Manarola and Volastra. Its name means “five lands”, relating to the fishing villages along the cliffs. Two wines are made, a dry white known as Cinque Terre and a sweet Schiaccetrà, both made from Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino grapes. Much of the terrain is remote, with some coastal vines even catching the spray from the sea.
The DOCs of Colli di Luni and Colline di Levanto are quality regions for Sangiovese based reds and some interesting whites from Vermentino. The Ciliegiolo grape is widely grown for use in red blends. Golfo del Tigullio-Portofino is a DOC for red, white, rosé, sparkling, and a passito style dessert wine. These DOCs are not widely known and little of the region’s wine is seen outside its boundaries. Much of Liguria’s commercial wine production takes place in the southwest of the region where Rossese di Dolceacqua was the first wine to be classified in 1972. The little known red Rossese grape has a ripe blackcurrant-like flavour and its wines are often compared to the soft reds of the Languedoc. Many consider it to be the best grape come from Liguria and it is seldom seen anywhere else.
Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC is the biggest DOC in Liguria. Its best known wines are the red Rossese and Ormeasco (a local version of Dolcetto) and the white Pigato and Vermentino. The whites show a lot of potential as well-structured whites that compliment the local food. Pigato is another local speciality which rarely occurs elsewhere and even in its native Liguria it is not granted the vineyard space that it probably deserves.
Within the region it is also worth looking out for unusual wines, like Buzzeto and Granacchia, if only to try a wine that is truly unique and virtually unknown outside of Ligura.
Liguria DOC wine appellations:
Cinque Terre and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà, Colli di Luni, Colline di Levanto, Golfo del Tigullio-Portofino or Portofino, Pornassio or Ormeasco di Pornassio, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Rossese di Dolceacqua or Dolceacqua, Val Polcevera
Liguria IGT wine appellations:
Colline del Genovesato, Colline Savonesi, Golfo dei Poeti La Spezia or Golfo dei Poeti, Terrazze dell’Imperiese