2014 Bio Vio ‘Marene’ Pigato
Region: Riviera Ligure di Ponente < Liguria < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; vineyards are a patchwork of tiny, terraced plots with loose gravel soil and 30-50 year-old vines: After manual harvest, the bunches are destemmed and crushed, and the must is left to macerate with the skins for 24-36 hours. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 25 days, then 1-2 months on the lees before aging 6 months in stainless steel and 2 months in bottle before release; unfined/unfiltered; 750 cases
Winemaker: Giobotta Vio
The seaside region of Liguria is an extraordinary place, the land of quaint, almost Disney-esque, pastel villages (Cinque Terre, anyone?) and incredible food (pesto, focaccia, fresh fish, olive oil!) It is also one of Italy’s best kept wine secrets, a secret only because they produce so little, thanks to extremely steep and impossible terrain that is often struck by landslides. Situated in the sweet spot where the Alps meet the Apennines, Liguria’s steep, craggy vineyards are washed over by a crisp Alpine breeze, while also warmed by the air that rises off the Mediterranean – a very good combo for grapes. Pigato is a local grape that is technically identical to the other local variety, Vermentino, with an interesting clonal variation: Pigato has brown spots, freckles (“pigato” comes from “pighe,” the Ligurian dialect word for freckles). But Ligurian growers disagree that these two grapes are the same – the grapes don’t look the same, and the resulting wines taste different, even when vinified the same. Finding agreement on the genetics may be difficult, but we can all agree that Pigato is absolutely delicious. With bright herbs, yellow peach and citrus peel, this wine is aromatic and mineral-rich, with a beautiful texture and a touch of spice. In addition to plentiful acidity, it has structure, so this baby can age. When young, it’s perfect as an aperitivo and with fish/veg dishes, and especially brilliant with pesto or anything bathed in olive oil.