Liguria is a thin, crescent-shaped coastal region with pristine sandy beaches, sophisticated cities, romantic villages, secluded hiking trails, steep terraces with olive trees, vineyards thyme-scented hillsides cliff and incredible basil scent gastronomy, on more than 300 kilometers of coast.
Known as the Italian Riviera, this region is not only a desirable destination for its sublime beauty but also for its spectacular gastronomy and enology. It is understood that winemakers have been growing vines in the region for approximately 25 centuries.
This 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 (some can only be reached by boat) with limited production. In some areas the slopes are so steep that the land has to be cultivated by hand.
The terrain in Liguria is mountainous and rugged with land jutting out into the sea. The Alps and Apennine mountains tumble into the Ligurian Sea forming a dramatic topography unique to the Italian Peninsula. The vineyards are peppered throughout the steep cliffs along the coastline, where local winemakers tend the vines on their terraced slopes. The region has almost no flat land, making traditional viticulture techniques difficult to maintain for mass production. The winemakers of the area pride themselves on an expert artisanal level of winemaking.
The collocation of valleys and steep carved mountains create an entryway for streams and rivers that drain into the Ligurian Sea. The Alpine-Apennine mountain chain acts as a protective barrier for the vines against harsh winds. The oceanfront vines happily soak up the salty ocean mist, which directly impacts the grapes’ flavor and aroma, and the warm Mediterranean climate helps the vines ripen. The biggest challenge the region faces is drought and accessibility of the vines. growers cultivate grapes on their terraces, which are cut from the rocky rugged slopes. The drier, sunny climate helps the Italian Riviera produce wines with higher sugar content.
The soil's high limestone content is particularly good for white grapes, as it gives the wines their minerality.
Liguria is comprised of four provinces: Genoa (capital), Imperia, La Spezia, and Savona. Within the region there are different indigenous grapes and DOC wine categorizations worth noting. A few DOC wine areas of note are Cinque Terre, Colli di Luni, Colline di Levanto, Dolceacqua, Golfo del Tigullio (Portofino), Pornassio, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, and Val Polcevera.
Although there are dozens of varieties grown in this region, Liguria is generally known for its white wines made from Pigato and Vermentino. Both grapes produce wines with a fragrant nose reminiscent of the Ligurian landscape's pine-wood and sea-salt aromas, as well as an underlying minerality.
The red celebrities come in the form of Rossese, a variety which creates subtle, fruity and spicy wines generally found in the west and the Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC.
Ligurian wines are characterized by a perfectly balanced body with moderate, refreshing acidity and they offer a unique and fascinating glimpse of the Italian wine scene !