Italian Wine Regions - Quattrocalici


Liguria wines

Table of Contents for the Liguria Region

The Liguria Wine Region

The Liguria wine region

Sea and mountains have a very important influence on vine growing and wine production in Liguria. The vineyards are exposed to the breeze and often grown on steep cliffs that reach the sea level, whose wines have a personal and unique “salinity”, hardly present in wines produced elsewhere. The terraces and steep slopes are often deprived of access roads, as in the “Cinque Terre” making the Ligurian viticulture kind of “heroic”. The harvest is carried out strictly by hand and the transport of grapes by shoulder, not by choice but by necessity imposed by the conformation of the territory. The small amount of wine made from it are unique in the Italian wine scene.

The history of viticulture in Liguria

The first evidence of the cultivation of the vine in Liguria go back to Roman times, while the harshness of the territory had prevented the development in previous eras. The Ligurian wines are mentioned by Pliny the Elder, although still the first crops are probably due tothe work of the Etruscans. In fact the first evidence relate to the Riviera di Ponente, in the present province of La Spezia and the Cinque Terre wine area. The commercial success of Genoa and its Maritime Republic, gave a considerable boost also to the viticulture and the production of wine. Contacts with different peoples and cultures have also certainly contributed to enriching the region from the ampelographic point of view. In 1500 the grapes varieties of the Italian Riviera were recognized by their quality and to that period date the first references to the vine Albarola. The first reports of grape varieties and wines produced in Liguria date back to early years 1800, with referencest to both the Vermentino and Albarola (in Genoa known as Bianchetta Genovese) varieties. Even today the environmental conditions of the area and do not allow extensive cultivation and for that reason in Liguria the wineries are mostly small sized and wine productions consequently limited.

The grape varieties in Liguria

The Ligurian hinterland consists largely of mountainous areas, therefore the wine production in Liguria is concentrated along the coastal strip and only for a small part, where possible, in the internal areas of the region. The most common varieties are white grapes, particularly in Central and Eastern Liguria, while the production of varieties with black berry is concentrated in the western part of the region. The white grape most important of Liguria is Vermentino, while the most imortant one with black berry is Rossese, a variety resembling the Nebbiolo for its low content of coloring substances. Other white grapes grown in Liguria are the Pigato, Bosco and Albarola, while other with black berry are the the Ormeasco (local neme for Dolcetto) and Barbera. The Ciliegiolo is mre diffused in central and eastern areas of Liguria .

The wine producing areas in Liguria

Starting from the east, the Riviera di Levante, the first wine area is the Colli di Luni DOC, an area that extends up to the province of Massa Carrara in Tuscany. The most common white grape white is here Vermentino, used both in for varietal wines and for the production of Colli di Luni Bianco DOC, together with Trebbiano Toscano and other white grapes. The Colli di Luni red wine is produced with Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero, Ciliegiolo, Pollera Nera and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Cinque Terre area is named after the five villages overlooking the Ligurian Sea in the eastern region, in the province of La Spezia. The landscape of the Cinque Terre is among the most striking to be found in Italy, with vineyards planted on steep slopes and on terraces sloping down to the sea. The Cinque Terre wines are produced with the grapes of Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino varieties, from which dry white wines are made and the rare raisin wine Sciacchetrà, produced with overripe grapes left to dry in ventilated rooms.

Farther west, the areas of Val Polcevera and Golfo del Tigullio DOC, standing for wines produced with Bianchetta Genovese (local name for Albarola) grapes.

To the west, the Riviera di Ponente is characterized by the production of red wines, with grapes of Rossese, Ormeasco (Dolcetto) and Ciliegiolo. The Rossese is the absolute star of the Dolceacqua DOC wines. Rossese gives fruity red wines with slightly aggressive tannins, characterized by a light color, similar that of wines from Nebbiolo. The Ormeasco grape is the star of the Pornassio DOC. With the same grapes the Ormeasco Sciac-trà is also made, a rosé wine not to be confused with the Sciacchetrà from the Cinque Terre. The Vermentino and Pigato are genetically similar varieties and characterize the white wines of the Riviera di Ponente DOC, particularly those from the areas between the cities of Savona and Imperia .

The regional cuisine of Liguria

The seafood

The Ligurian cuisine has an unbreakable bond with the sea, as evidenced by the numerous recipes dedicated to fish food. Among soups and pasta dishes the broth of rock fishes, the whitebait stew, the ravioli with fish and a mussel soup with seafood. Among the mai courses, the Cappon magro, a salad of fish, seafood and shellfish combined with vegetables, the whitebait omelette, the sgombretti with peas sauce, the cod fish, the buridda (fish stewed with peas). The whitebait, caught in Liguria from December 1 to 30 April, are the smallest sizes of some species of marine fish, especially sardines and anchovies. They are long from 3 to 10 mm and present themselves as a whitish mass.

The meat recipes

Among the soups the most famous are the ones with vegetables and herbs: the Genovese minestrone, is soft and fragrant, the mesciua is a mixture of legumes and the sbira is a tripe stew, served with broth. The typical pasta varieties of Liguria, like trenette and trofie are mostly served with pesto, a sauce made of fragrant Ligurian basil, famous throughout the world, or walnut sauce, or meat tocco (sauce), or mushrooms tocco, or green sauce. Among the main courses, missed the Cima genovese, a sort of wrap from veal meat with a vegetables, pine nuts and cheese filling, served with side dishes such as stuffed lettuces, the omelette with artichokes and mushrooms or the one with herbs, the fried scorzonera (wild grass) and fried zucchini flowers stuffed with potatoes.

Pasta and flour are the basis for many typical dishes of the Italian cuisine: the porridge chickpea, thin and crisp, with a golden surface, added of rosemary, onions and sausage, is a dish rich in calories consumed preferably in autumn.The focaccia is a classic Ligurian bread specialty, added with ingredients such as onions and olives and many others, creating numerous variants. The best known of them are the Sardenaira, with tomato, olives and anchovies and Recco focaccia with fresh cheese.

Oil and herbs

The presence of  the olive tree in Liguria dates back to 3000bC. The Riviera Ligure DOP olive oil is distinguished by its fruity and delicate taste of ripe olive, almost not bitter at all, with scents of almond and pine nuts. It is ideal for preparing mayonnaise and simple fish recipes. Typical of the Ligurian cuisine are the fragrant herbs, such as basil, thyme, the marjoram, rosemary, sage and borage, along with other wild herbs all of them giving each dish a touch of originality.

The desserts

The city of Torriglia is famous for the canestrelli (pastry cookies), Rapallo for the gobeletti (dough pastry cakes stuffed with fruit jam), Sassello for the amaretti with paste of almonds and Genova for the Lagaccio cookies, named by a district of the town. The pandolce is the Genoese version of the panettone, prepared by hand, more compact and less leavened that the one from Milano, and very rich in raisins and candied fruit. The Chinotto a mutation of bitter orange, whose culture is rooted in Liguria, mostly in Savona and in the area between Varazze and Finale Ligure and in the valleys behind, sincemore than three hundred years. Its fruits have orange-yellow skin and white flesh, they are big as apricots. They are used to prepare are syrup, flavors and elixirs, liqueurs, jams and chutneys.

The Wine Producers of the Liguria Region

Altare Bonanni De Grazia CampograndeLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Azienda Agricola PossaLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Azienda Agricola SommarivaSavonaAlbenga
BegastiLa SpeziaMonterosso al Mare
Berry And BerrySavonaBalestrino
Vino consigliatiBioVioSavonaAlbenga
BurancoLa SpeziaMonterosso al Mare
Calvini LuigiImperiaSanremo
CampograndeLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Cantina CinqueterreLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Cantina dei TobioliLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Cantina SancioSavonaSpotorno
Cantine BreganteGenovaSestri Levante
Cantine CalleriSavonaAlbenga
Cantine FedericiLa SpeziaOrtonovo
Cantine LitànLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
CapelliniLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Cascina delle Terre RosseSavonaFinale Ligure
Cascina Feipu dei MassarettiSavonaAlbenga
Cascina NirascaImperiaPieve di Teco
Cascina PraiéSavonaAndora
CheoLa SpeziaVernazza
Colle dei BardelliniImperiaImperia
Conte Picedi BenettiniLa SpeziaSarzana
Coop Agricoltori Vallata di LevantoLa SpeziaLevanto
Cooperativa Viticoltori IngauniSavonaOrtovero
Dallorto LucaImperiaDolceacqua
Danila PisanoImperiaSoldano
Enoteca Andrea BruzzoneGenovaGenova
Enrico DarioSavonaAlbenga
Forlini CappelliniLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
GiacomelliLa SpeziaCastelnuovo Magra
Giuliani e PasiniLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Vino consigliatiGuglierameImperiaPornassio
Il MonticelloLa SpeziaSarzana
Il TorchioLa SpeziaCastelnuovo Magra
Innocenzo TurcoSavonaQuiliano
Vino consigliatiKa MancinéImperiaSoldano
La BettignaLa SpeziaSarzana
La Cantina LevanteseLa SpeziaLevanto
La ColombieraLa SpeziaCastelnuovo Magra
La GinestraiaImperiaCervo
La Pietra del FocolareLa SpeziaOrtonovo
La RicollaGenovaNe
La Vecchia CantinaSavonaAlbenga
Laura AscheroImperiaPontedassio
Le Rocche del GattoSavonaAlbenga
Luigi Bianchi CarenzoImperiaDiano San Pietro
Luigi SartoriSavonaAlbenga
LunaeLa SpeziaOrtonovo
Vino consigliatiLupiImperiaPieve di Teco
Maccario DringenbergImperiaSan Biagio della Cima
Maria Donata BianchiImperiaDiano Arentino
Massimo AlessandriImperiaRanzo
Ottaviano LambruschiLa SpeziaCastelnuovo Magra
PaganiniSavonaFinale Ligure
Paolo DeperiImperiaRanzo
PinoginoGenovaCastiglione Chiavarese
Podere GrecaleImperiaSanremo
Poggi dell’ElmoImperiaSoldano
Poggio dei GorleriImperiaDiano Marina
Prima TerraLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Riccardo ArrigoniLa SpeziaLa Spezia
Samuele Heydi BonaniniLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Santa CaterinaLa SpeziaSarzana
SassariniLa SpeziaMonterosso al Mare
Scorza – Cesare BurascaLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Tenuta AnfossoImperiaSoldano
Tenuta GiuncheoImperiaCamporosso
Vino consigliatiTenuta La GhiaiaLa SpeziaSarzana
Tenuta MaffoneImperiaPieve di Teco
Tenuta SelvadolceImperiaBordighera
Terra di BargonLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
Terre BiancheImperiaDolceacqua
Testalonga – Antonio PerrinoImperiaDolceacqua
Tommaso LupiImperiaPieve di Teco
Vairo EugenioSavonaFinale Ligure
ValdiscalveLa SpeziaBonassola
ValleponciSavonaFinale Ligure
Vis AmorisImperiaImperia
Walter De BattèLa SpeziaRiomaggiore
ZanganiLa SpeziaSanto Stefano di Magra
Fratelli GiannarelliLa SpeziaBolano
Vino consigliatiTerre di LevantoLa SpeziaLevanto
La FelceLa SpeziaOrtonovo