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Italian Wine Hub - Extensive online database listing Italian wine producers, exporters, importers and distributors
Extensive online gallery featuring over 1,000 Italian wine labels
Extensive online gallery featuring over 1,000 Italian wine labels


Liguria Native Vines – Second Part
Rosa D'Ancona – May 20, 2006


Native White Vines

There are different theories about how this vine was introduced in Italy. Some believe that the vine originated in Spain and, in the 14th century, was brought over to the Mediterranean island of in Corsica. From there, sometime between the 15th and 18th centuries, it migrated to the italian regions of Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia. Other experts sustain that the vine originated in the Middle East and was brought to Marseille, in France, by the Greeks. The ancient Ligurian then introduced it first into the region and later along the Tyrrhenian coast. The grapes acquire more or less intense perfumes, structure and persistence, depending on the characteristics of the soil and the environment where it grows. It is part of many Ligurian DOC blends.

The Pigato vine is believed to have originated in the ancient Tessaglia, region of Greece, but has thrived for centuries in the area of Albenga, so much so to be considered tantamount to a native. It was probably introduced in Liguria toward the end of the 17th century. Its name derives from the local dialect word pigau, o pigou, because of the little rusty-brown speckles which dots the grapes' skin. In Albenga's dialect the speckles are called pighe.

The Lumassina vine has been cultivated on the Savona hills for centuries, however its true origins are unknown. In Liguria this vine is called with different names in different areas. In fact, in Finale Ligure is known as e Lumassina because it is said that it was traditionally drunk with snail-based recipes, and lumasse means snail in local dialect; in the towns of Noli and Spotorno it is known as Mataosso; while in Quiliano the name is Buzzetto, because of the slightly tart flavor of its wine.

Native Red Vines

The Rossese, not to be mistaken with the white-berried Rossese Bianco, has a long history in Liguria. Cultivated mostly in the province of Imperia, this vine is believed to have arrived in Italy from France toward the end of the 18th century, grown by the Doria family in their Ligurian property of Dolceacqua. The grapes produce the DOC Rossese di Dolceacqua, a ruby red colored wine tending to garnet-red when aged. The perfume is winy and the flavor is delicate, aromatic and warm.

The Ormeasco variety is cultivated in around 20  municipalities in the province of Imperia, but the core production is concentrated in Pornassio, Pieve di Teco and Vessalico. The cultivation of this local variation of the Piedmontese Dolcetto vine dates back to the 14th century, when the Marquis of Clavesana promulgated an edict ordering the Podestà (local authority) of the town of Pornassio to grow exclusively this grape variety, under pain of decapitation. Despite the the vine derivation from the Dolcetto variety, this wine has developed original characteristic different from the original Piedmontese. The wine produced is the DOC Ormeasco di Pornassio, whose color is bright ruby red with persistent, winy perfume. In the mouth it's dry, with medium body and characteristic bitterish nuances.

Pollera Nera
Ancient Ligurian and Tuscan vine, this variety is mentioned in the 19th century work of Italian author Acerbi. Use to produce both blends and varietal wines, it's one of the official grapes used in the production of the DOC Colli di Luni. The wine is ruby red, tending to garnish-red when aged, the scent is delicate and winy, and the flavor is dry and harmonic.

Outstanding Producers of DOC Wines

Label: Costa di Mattelun Label Nera

Label: Cinque Terre

Label: Golfo del Tigullio Vermentino Vigna Intrigoso

Label: Apogèo

Label: Bricco Arcagna

Label: Mataossu

Label: Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato


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