I Love Italian Travel – Liguria Wine Tours
Article by Levi Reiss
So you are planning to tour Liguria. You have probably heard 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 that I ordered on-line. At lost last I have finally reviewed both in other columns.
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 love eating fish you can find a wide variety of restaurants ranging from mom and pop trattorias to fancy restaurants. Or visit the Acquario di Genova, which is 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 (known as 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 offering 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.
About the Author
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but he prefers drinking fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and people. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website http://www.travelitalytravel.com which includes information on Italian wine and food.