So you have decided to go to Liguria. You might know about the historic port of Genoa from which Christopher Columbus set out to visit “The New World”. You may be familiar with the Italian Riviera, unashamed competitor to its French counterpart. Perhaps you have heard about Cinque Terre, five seaside villages that are a favorite with hikers and romantics.
If you haven’t been to Liguria you may not have ever tasted Ligurian wine. Not all that much is exported to North America. On a personal note, I have tasted and reviewed wines from 19 of Italy’s 20 regions. Only Liguria was missing. While researching this article I found a red and a white which I ordered on-line and will review both as soon as they arrive.
The little town of Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the Cinque Terre villages is festival land; it celebrates a Lemon Feast on the Saturday just prior to Ascension Sunday, a Flower Festival of Corpus Christi on the second Sunday after Pentecost, and a Salted Anchovy and Olive Oil Festival on the second weekend of September. Or you may prefer the upscale village of Portofino to see how the other half lives. If you like fish you can find a wide variety in restaurants ranging from mom and pop trattorias to fancy restaurants. Or visit the Acquario di Genova, Europe’s largest aquarium.
The soil is poor; the slopes are steep and well-drained. Liguria has what it takes to produce fine wines. But more and more of the agricultural production is going to olive groves, flowers, or housing for the numerous tourists. Ligurian grape varieties include the white Vermentino and the red Ormeasco (called Dolcetto in neighboring Piedmont) and Rossese. They also produce some wine from one of Italy’s red signature grapes, Sangiovese.
Liguria festivals include: Portofino - St. George Bonfire in April, Riomaggiore - Feast of San Giovanni in June. Casella - Historical Festival and Palio in August, Levanto - Maritime Festival in July. Pontinvrea - Cherry Festival in June, Castiglione Chiavare - Eggplant Festival in August and Bogliasco - Olive Oil Festival in August.
Companies that offer wine tours of Liguria include La Dolce Vita Wine Tours, Nyala Wonder Travel, and Wine Roads. Among the Liguria wineries hosting visits are A Maccia Azienda Agricola in Ranzo and Terre Bianche in Dolceacqua. They are both involved in agrotourism, so you can spend a good part of your vacation on site.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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Wine tours, wine vacations, wine holidays in Liguria, Italy