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Ultimate Guide to the Liguria Wine Region


Famous Wines of the Liguria Wine Region

Liguria is best known for its white wines. Pigato likely derives its name from t­he spots (pighe) that appear on the mature grapes. It gives an accurate representation of the Ligurian landscape, with minerality and a nose of pine woods and seaside air [sources: Esposito, Liguria Food].

The Cinque Terre now produce an eponymous white, a blend of Vermentino and Bosco grapes. Cinque Terre is light and dry, best with seafood, linguine al pesto or vegetable cakes [source: Liguria Food]. Vineyards in this area are scarce, and the wines they produce are relatively rare. The rarest -- and therefore most legendary -- is the sweet Sciacchetrà [source: Made in Italy]. Over the centuries, it has won praise from Boccaccio and Petrarch; other poets assert that it's the drink of the gods themselves. Pliny the Elder called it a "lunar wine" -- reflecting the general sense that the Sciacchetrà is not quite of this world [source: Italian Made].

Speaking of lunar wines, Colli di Luna, or "hills of the moon," produces three wines, two whites (the Bianco and Vermentino) and a dry red (the Rosso), which are regulated by the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) [source: Made in Italy]. The Vermentino is a light, sweet, fruity white that comes from a Malvasia variety. You're likely to find it only on the coast -- the delicate grapes can't survive even a mild inland Italian winter [source:Liguria Food].

Rossesse dell'Acqua, Liguria's first red DOC, is intense and dry, best with game and ripe cheeses. According to some sources, the vines have been cultivated here since the days of the Phoenicians [source: Liguria Food]. The Rossesse is said to have been Napoleon's favorite wine [source: Ligurien netz].

Recent DOC designations include the Golfo del Tigullio, the Val Polcevera Coronato and the Colline di Levanto. Also worth trying: the Pornassio (or Ormeasco di Pornassio) DOC, an intense cousin of the Piedmont Dolcetto that dates back to the Middle Ages. You'll be lucky to find them outside Italy, but do try them if you can [source: Italian Made].

If you're persistent -- and if you're in good shape for hiking -- Ligurian wine will be a worthy reward. Wear comfortable shoes, pack light and don't be afraid to try something you've never heard of.

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