Vermentino: Italy's Liguria Region Produces a Nice, Crisp White Wine

Vermentinos are not native to Italy; they were originally brought by the Spanish.  At the beginning of summer, I discussed the Vermentinos of Sardinia.  There is another region of Italy that excels in Vermentinos, the region of Liguria. 

Liguria is a thin strip of land that runs along the Mediterranean.  On its western border is the French Riviera.  To its north, as you move west to east, is Piemonte and then Emilia-Romagna.  To its east is Tuscany.  Liguria is a continuation of the Mediterranean Riviera.  Yet, this area is more a product of its geography, than its neighbors.  Going inland from the sea, the soil is rocky with steep slopes.  There are roughly one hundred different grape varieties grown here.   

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Liguria Vermentino's Mentioned:

Terenzuola
Colle dei Bardellini

Historically, Liguria was part of Genoa, a seafaring nation.  In 1162, Genoa became in independent Republic dependent on its maritime prowess for food, commerce and defense.  Genoa flourished as one of the dominant maritime powers, however, eventually with the rise of France, England and Spain, their influence diminished.  Finally, in 1805, the area that would become Liguria was annexed by France.  Then in 1814, it became part of the kingdom of Sardinia remaining so until Italy was unified in the mid-1800’s. 

Unfortunately, not a lot of wine is produced and much of what is produced is consumed locally.  Most wineries are small artisanal producers.  There are no mega-producers in this area.  This is both of function of splintered land ownership and lack of suitable farming areas for large production farming.  The best Vermentinos come from either end of Liguria.  In the western end of Liguria, the wine tradition is more influenced by the practices of Piemonte.  The DOC Riviera di Ponente covers most of the western third of Liguria.  The name means “the coastline of Liguria at the place on the horizon where the sun sets”.  The wines made here will list the varietal name on the label.  The DOC regulations require 95% of the varietal named.  Although there are multiple reds and whites produced, for my tastes, the Vermentinos are the best. 

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.