Wines of Liguria

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Written By Gilberto Mattei

Wines of Liguria: Ligurian DOC, DOCG and IGT wines

wines in Liguria are something extremely valuable, and it could not be otherwise given the particular lay of the land.

Wine in Liguria is the result of a lot of hard work, of many days spent picking grapes under the scorching sun up and down steep and impervious terrain. On the other hand, space does not abound, squeezed as it is between the sea and the mountains, and the fact that wine-growing is practised with good success can already be considered something out of the ordinary.

Wine production in Liguria

This type of terrain makes wine production in Liguria extremely fragmented with no territorial continuity. The result is that production costs clearly rise and the cost of the final bottle increases accordingly. Over the centuries, Ligurian wine has been cultivated on terraces behind the coastal villages along the slopes on the opposite side of the sea. One must also bear in mind that the Ligurians have always been a people of navigators and have over the years imported grape varieties found on the other side of the world.

The grapes of Ligurian wines

The wines in Liguria come from not many selected grape varieties: Albana, Albarola, Bianchetta, Bosco, Buonamico, Ciliegiolo, Malvasia del Chianti, Dolcetto, Rossese, Trebbiano Toscano, Vermentino and others. Among these, the most famous is the Rossese from which the famous Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC is produced, perhaps the best known DOC wine in Liguria.


Wines in Liguria: Vermentino and Cinque Terre

We would like to mention here two others wines of Liguria worthy of mention. The first is Vermentino, well known and cultivated in almost the entire region, appreciated by locals and foreign tourists alike. The second is the Cinque Terre DOC, whose production is not very high but certainly deserves mention both for its particular organoleptic characteristics and for the hand-harvesting method, still identical over the centuries, peculiar to the five villages of the Cinque Terre.


No one knows the exact number of " nostralini " produced in Liguria.

By 'nostralino' we mean the wine obtained from the mashing of all the grapes in a vineyard, whether white or black, mixed as it happens. Every town on the coast or in the hills has a range of such wines because each vine-grower makes his own; on the whole, they are passable, pretty, fragrant, drinkable, capable of satisfying the thirst without cutting the legs. The amateur who wants to taste them should look for them in Recco, Camogli, Moneglia, Chiavati, Lavagna, Sestri Levante, Balano, Arcola, Framura, Bonassola, Finale Ligure, Levanto, Albenga, Ventimiglia, San Remo.


The most famous of Ligurian wines is the Bianco delle Cinque Terre.

Its typical area embraces the rocky, sheer terrain of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore and Manarola, between Capo Mesco and the Cavo promontory in the province of La Spezia.

Of ancient fame, it is remembered by Boccaccio and Petrarch, D'Annunzio, Carducci and Pascoli. In 1907, the royal ship Roma was launched with a bottle of this white wine offered by Luigi Bonati, Pascoli's friend and supplier.

Ligurian wines to accompany fish.

There is the dry Cinque Terre for fish, there is the liqueur type for second courses, called Sciacchetrà from the breath and pop produced when the bottle is opened, opulent yellow or brown if strongly aged, with a high alcohol content, judged by Andrea Bacci, personal physician to Sixtus V, to be "very useful for healthy and sick people".

Spezzini are the whites of Marinasco, Biassa and Campiglia, from the province the white and red of Sarticola. The Genovesato area has three whites, Polcévera, Coronata and Portofino, all in very limited quantities. Common to the provinces of Imperia and Savona are Vermentino, Pigato and Rossese.

Vermentino and Pigato occupy a prominent position among Ligurian fish whites due to their dry flavour, medium alcohol content, and delicate perfume; the former, with a slight ageing, may well rival the best Rhine wines. The Rossese, more or less light ruby red, strawberry-scented, dry or semi-dry, bitter vein, savoury, twelve degrees, ages well and should be categorised among the roast drinks.


Exclusive to the Savona area are the white Limassina and the red Barbarossa, the one subtle and savoury, the other full-bodied and flavourful.


The wines of Liguria are:

  • Rossese di Dolceacqua
  • Orneasco Riviera Ligure di Ponente
  • Pigato Riviera Ligure di Ponente
  • Vermentino Riviera Ligure di Ponente
  • Five Lands
  • Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà
  • Colli di Luni Vermentino
  • Hills of Levanto
  • Tigullio Gulf Passito
  • Ormeasco di Pornassio
  • Polcevera Valley

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