Viticulture in Liguria
Colli di Luni, Cinque Terre, Riviera di Levante, and Riviera di Ponente are the main wine-growing areas of Liguria.
White grapes dominate production, with Vermentino and Pigato, an indigenous biotype of Vermentino, accounting for the largest portion of regional plantings, followed by Bianchetta Genovese, Cimixa, and native grapes of Cinque Terre like Bosco and Albarola. Crisp and savory, with signature aromas of Mediterranean herbs and great fruit-acid balance, Ligurian whites make a perfect aperitivo and match simple seafood dishes.
Red grapes include Rossese, Ciliegiolo, and Ormeasco (Dolcetto) on the western foothills of the Ligurian alps.
Heroic viticulture is especially widespread in Liguria: due to space constraints, farmers tend vineyards on steep terraced slopes. Cinque Terre is globally renowned for heroic viticulture but vineyards in Colli di Levanto and Pornassio, the cradle of Ormeasco di Pornassio, are just as steep and difficult to farm.
What are the main wine-growing areas of Liguria?
- Vermentino: the most widely grown variety in the region, giving a plethora of different wines, ranging from gluggable and floral entry-level examples to rich and tactile orange wines.
- Pigato: a clone of Vermentino, usually yielding slightly richer and savorier wines that take on peculiar aromas of marzipan and gasoline with aging – not unlike Riesling or Timorasso.
- Rossese: the key native red grape, yielding some of Italy’s finest mid-weight reds – ethereal and transparent, with soft tannins and refreshing acidity allied to crunchy red fruits, herbs, and spice.
- Ormeasco: the equivalent of Dolcetto from Piedmont, giving easy-drinking, fruit-forward reds and rosè.
Other key grapes:
- Cimixa (Scimiscià)
- Bianchetta Genovese