From: Liguria, Italy
Blend: 40% Rossese, 30% Ormeasco, 30% Granaccia (Grenache)
Taste: A ruby red with purple reflections, this wine is reminiscent of the Ligurian coast with its Mediterranean herbs, coastal salinity, and bright breeziness. Aromas of red cherry, cranberry, strawberry, and pomegranate mingle with herbal hints of fennel and warm spices like cinnamon. Light on its feet, this wine is fresh with just a touch of balanced tannin and a long finish. We suggest serving this wine slightly chilled to let its fruit pop.
Pairing: The region of Liguria boasts some of the best food in Italy—including pesto genovese, minestrone, and focaccia. Because Liguria is on the coast, seafood and fish are a big part of the diet here, and many of the region’s famous foods and recipes were first invented or eaten on ships or by fishermen. This red is light and fresh enough to work well with fish and lighter vegetable dishes, including anything with pesto. Not feeling seafood? In that case, the local Sugo di Funghi, where fresh porcini mushrooms (abundant in Liguria) are cooked with olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and tomato paste, Margherita Pizza, lentil soup with smoked ham hocks or chicken thighs baked in tomato and red pepper are fantastic options for inspiration.
Just up the coast from Liguria and into France lies Provence, and classic dishes from this area will also work well for pairing (see below for the recipe). Why? They also produce Rossese, but this rare variety is known as Tibouren in France.
Daniel Gritzer’s recipe for Real Bouillabaisse (Bouillabaisse Marseillaise) would be beautiful alongside this Vino Rosso for a weekend cooking project.
About. Many thanks to importer Porto Vino, for the following information! Liguria, the crescent-shaped strip of a region that arcs from Tuscany to France and separates Piemonte from the Mediterranean Ocean, is a mountainous land of beautiful but often rugged beaches, spectacular seafood and vegetables, and yes, wine. Most visitors get their first glimpse of Liguria by speeding along the A10 autostrada, ducking into and out of tunnels carved into the steep, coastal mountains perched just above the sparkling sea below. As you drive from Genoa towards France in Liguria Ponente (western Liguria, or the Liguria of the Setting Sun), you see vineyards on your left, below the autostrada. But if you take the exit at the coastal town of Albenga and head uphill instead of down to the sea, you wind your way steeply up into an utterly different world from the seaside resorts and vines.
It’s here, in the tiny village of Vendone, 12 kilometers inland and 300 meters above the sea, that Ettore and Natalina Vio planted vines and olive trees amidst the mountain scrub in the 1970s. Their son Claudio and his wife, Maria Grazia, now tend the family farm. A dispersed patchwork of tiny, terraced vineyard plots adding up to just two hectares — mostly Pigato, with a little Vermentino — yield just enough wine for Porto Vino to bring in a few hundred cases a year. Farming is lotta integrata. All harvesting is manual and fermentations are with native yeasts.
While this part of Liguria is best known for the white grapes pigato and vermentino, equally bright, refreshing reds like this one are also produced in small quantities. In fact, only sixty cases of this wine are produced each year. The blend is comprised roughly 40% Rossese (the light red variety also known as Tibouren in Provence), with the balance an even split of Ormeasco (very closely related to Piedmont’s Dolcetto grape), and Granaccia (Grenache). The grapes are fermented in stainless steel for three weeks to retain freshness.
Runcu Brüjau is Ligurian dialect for ‘Scarpata Bruciata,’ literally ‘burned escarpment.’ It’s the name of the 0.1 hectare vineyard that this wine comes from, which was traditionally an area that had frequent wildfires in the past. Let’s hope its future yields less inferno and more Rossese to produce wines like these.
Now, about the main varietal in this charming red blend: Rossese!
As for Ormeasco (the second wine in this blend), this name indicates a grape and a geographic area. Ormeasco di Pornassio or Pornassio indicates that the grape is Dolcetto from this AOC. Wines here are made from the ancient red Dolcetto grape variety, known as Ormeasco, hence the DOP's name. However, the Ligurian version makes considerably different wines than in Piedmont, to the north, with a generally brighter color, more perfume, and sweeter tannins while still maintaining a distinct bitter characteristic.
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