Liguria is a thin, crescent-shaped coastal region of northwest Italy running 250km (150 miles) along the Mediterranean Sea from the border with the south of France in the west to the port city of La Spezia in the east. Tuscany lies beyond the latter while the region's central city, Genoa, sits roughly 70km (40 miles) southeast of Asti and Barolo.
Known as the Italian Riviera, this thin, beautiful strip of rugged land with its Mediterranean climate and poor, stony soils is dominated by hills with sheer drops that almost fall straight into the sea. These steep elevations make vine growing a challenge, resulting in scattered vineyards (some can only be reached by boat) with limited production. In some areas the slopes are so steep that the land has to be cultivated by hand. Most wine is the work of small, artisanal producers who have to grow their vines on terraces carved from the rocky slopes.
Liguria is generally known for its white wines made from Vermentino, which are known locally as Pigato for the spots (pighe) that appear on the mature grapes. The grape produces wine with a fragrant nose reminiscent of the Ligurian landscape's pine-wood and sea-salt aromas, as well as an underlying minerality. The red celebrities come in the form of Rossese, a variety which creates subtle, fruity and spicy wines generally found in the west and the Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC, and Ormeasco, a similar variety to the Piedmontese Dolcetto.
In the past the only regional DOC/DOP was Rossese di Dolceacqua, but recently that number has swelled to eight. Colline di Levanto's white is similar to that of its fellow DOC Cinque Terre, distinguished by its lingering bouquet and its rosso of Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo. (© Wine-Searcher)