Vio Pigato Riviera Ligure di Ponente 2010

Vio Pigato Riviera Ligure di Ponente 2010

A great master of the martial arts once said to me: “The athletically gifted martial artist who does not try hard is not impressive. It is the one who, with less to work with, still performs well, that is truly the gifted one.”

vio-claudio-pigato-riviera-ligure-di-ponente-2010With just two hectares of difficult, steep hillside vineyards and an uncompromising pursuit of quality, that Claudio Vio can deliver a wine like Vio Pigato Riviera Ligure di Ponente, in my mind, establishes him as one of Italy’s most gifted, if not heroic, wine producers.

From Liguria in Italy’s northwest, Vio Pigato Riviera Ligure di Ponente is produced of 100% Pigato hand-harvested from shale and slate soil at about 300 meters altitude (the highest altitude Pigato produced, according to importer Portovino) located approximately 12km from the sea. Native yeasts. Maceration on skins carried out for 24-36 hours. Vinified in steel tank. One year in bottle before release.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Showing nothing of young, nervy character, this bottle has settled into an absolutely stunning state. Rich, golden color, perfumed of stone fruit, honey, sage, and minerals. Full bodied in the mouth, soft and slightly viscous, with good transfer of stone fruit flavors, citrus, herb, saline, hints of bitter almond on the finish. Spectacular.

vio-pigato-and-scallopsFood Pairing Suggestions:

I have to tell you: the wine was insanely good with the grilled scallops shown at left: first pairing reco is seafood for sure, shrimp or scallop risotto would be super. Also suggest baked peppers stuffed with rice and ground meat. The wine’s herb notes will play especially well with pasta, rice salad or vegetable dishes featuring green herbs, say, basil pesto and / or black olives. Cappellini simply dressed with a bit of garlic, olive oil and anchovy will resonate with the wine’s salinity. Would love to try this wine with a good Ligurian fish stew! Complex salads. Delicate chicken dishes.

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Az. Agr. Biologica / Giobatta Vio “U Bastio” Rossese di Albenga 2010

Az. Agr. Biologica / Giobatta Vio “U Bastio” Rossese di Albenga 2010

I’m standing on a train platform in Munich where S-Bahn trains clatter by me toward their destinations, one after the other, in a blur of alternating color:

redwhiteredwhiteredwhite.

redwhiteredwhiteredwhite.

A rather timely visual – I am, at the moment, considering whether it’ll be a red or white wine with the fish entrée I plan to order later tonight.

biologica-giobatta-vio-rossese-di-albenga-2010Actually, this year, I have met several red wines that drank fantastically when paired to fish entrees, exceptional among them: Az. Agr. Biologica / Giobatta Vio “U Bastio” Rossese di Albenga.

Az. Agr. Biologica is to be found in Italy’s Liguria, a region famous for gorgeous beaches and sensational pesto, a region whose list of things celebrated should, I am convinced, include this super bottle of red greatness.

Proprietor Giobatta Vio, called Aimone, established the estate in 2000 and quickly gained a cult following among wine appassionati. Az. Agr. Biologica is certified organic and produces its wines without use of herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers.

The wine is made from 100% Rossese grapes grown at 100m altitude in the production area of Coasco Bastia d’Albenga. Fermented in stainless steel, the wine sees 4 months of time on the lees and additional refinement in bottle for 2 months.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Intriguing garnet color. On day 1, ripe berries and floral tones with forest floor, ripe strawberries and hints of pepper. Tannins are low, but more than I expected. Day 2, the wine developed a bit more bottom with darker notes of fruit and herb. Day 3, showing roses and herbs, suggestions of raisin and eucalyptus. An amazing evolution. Would love to taste another day or two but can’t make it last any longer ;-). Sensational.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Loved this wine with pan fried flounder, pasta “puttanesca”, and spinach with garlic / olive oil. Consider serving this wine with baked chicken breast with oil-cured herbed olives, capers, and orange slices. Young cheeses and cured meats.

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Bisson Bianchetta Genovese “U Pastine” Golfo Del Tigullio 2007

Bisson Bianchetta Genovese “U Pastine” Golfo Del Tigullio 2007, DOC

I’ve written before that beauty doesn’t always arrive to great fanfare and announcement. I find this especially true of wine. Wines often reveal their beauty slowly: gradual, unhurried, nonchalant as in the grandest of seductions.

bisson-bianchetta-genovese-2007Bisson’s Bianchetta Genovese will not arrive to the sound of trumpets. Its demure nature is part of its beauty. Stay where you are… you are about the meet an unusually captivating dinner partner.

Bisson was established in 1978 by Pierluigi Lugano whose passion for the wines of the Ligurian coast fueled ambition: Pierluigi didn’t inherit a grand and noble estate – he began trading wine on a small scale, became a successful merchant and eventually an equally successful winemaker and land owner.

That Pierluigi has passion to fuel ambition is a good thing: cultivating the steep, stony slopes of Liguria’s coastline would be no easy day at the beach. Vineyard operations are carried out by hand as machinery in this environment is most difficult. In any case, Pierluigi, advocating the “great wines are made in the vineyard” philosophy, would probably opt to do it all by hand anyway.

Known as “U Pastine” – local dialect indicating a special product – Bisson’s Bianchetta Genovese is made from northwestern Italy’s rare Bianchetta Genovese varietal (sometimes aka Albarola) and is fermented in stainless steel.

I’ve promised you a captivating dinner partner:

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

At table, pale gold in color, the wine is quiet at first. Wait moments, minutes, it’s not important. Aromas of apple, pear, and field flowers will find you soon enough with depth beyond the usual expressions. Then, summer hay, fresh and clean – and a micro-second of sea salted time passes. In the mouth, an immediate sensation of richness opens up to a broad mid-palate of apple, pear, and almond. In-mouth aromas of coastal pine and fennel. Nicely focused, good minerality and acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Saltwater fish and seafood stews are super first choices for pairing this wine. Similarly, spaghetti with fish or seafood in a light, red, garlicky sauce will work well, too. I also suggest you consider this wine paired to basil pesto: pasta al pesto, perhaps, or a small bit of pesto as added flavoring to the fish / seafood stews. Another excellent option: seafood risotto. As a side dish to one of the above paired with the wine, you might consider serving a simple fennel salad with fresh orange wedges, dressed with olive oil and salt.

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