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I continue with the exploration of the hidden gems of the Italian Trade Tasting 2018 recently held in Montreal. If you are tuning for the first time please visit my previous post on Tenuta del Conte

The beauty of Italian wine lies on its diversity and that is something that must be cherished. Of course, there will always be the big icon wines: the Supertuscans, some primadonna Barolos and the occasional pseudo high end Chianti. Bought, drank and collected some of these wines. Basta!!. I don’t despise them and occasionally still capable to enjoy them. When I come to think about, it was my adolescence in Italian wine learning. Again, all part of the diversity but it is important to realize at some time you got to move on.

Can’t blame myself for enjoying artisanal Italian wines. Want to drink Cirò, Friulano, Aglianico from Basilicata and lots of natural wines.My latest discovery at the Italian trade tasting was the grape Pigato and the wines from Durin in Liguria.

The region of Liguria is better known for Cinque Terre and the San Remo music festival rather than its gastronomy and wine. For instance, Ligurians gave the world the gift of pesto, minestrone and focaccia now taken for granted in the Italian pantry. Less known is their confidential wine production based on a Greek descendant wine grape: Pigato.

Pigato is a white grape variety closely related to Vermentino. Its name comes from the Ligurian dialect “picau”, meaning speckled, by the presence of small dots (pigghe) on the grapes. It is native to the western region of Riviera di Ponente especially the regions of Genoa, Imperia and Savona. It is grown in Valle Arroscia and continues to the region of Pieve di Tenco where the provinces of Savona and Imperia converge.

Pigato is one of Liguria’s principal grapes. Its wine is part of the denomination Riviera Ligure di Ponente, a DOP from western Liguria and the region’s biggest.

What does it taste like? The Pigato wines from Durin were more aromatic and broader than a Vermentino with less acidity and a pleasant bitter mineral edge in the finale.

Durin, the savior of Pigato

Azienda Agricola Durin is a family estate going back over a hundred years founded by Giacomo Isidoro Basso. Today the estate is managed by  his grandson Antonio Basso and his wife Laura. The family winery grow Ligurian grapes but they are specialists in Pigato. They have  70 separate vineyards scattered around the village of Ortovero and cornered around the region’s terraced and steep hillsides.

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The Braie Durin was exhuberant with a fantastic nose redolent of chalk and lemon peel. This 100 % old vine Pigato from  the estate’s first vineyards. Hand-harvested. Destemmed; cold macerated for 24/48hours. Pressed then fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature controlled tanks. Aged in tank for one year. It was juicy and charming with white fruit, dry flowers and mineral nuances. This is the ultimate Vongole pasta wine.

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I enjoyed as well the Geva Pigato with no sulfites added. It was fresher with shiny and bright notes of orchard and citrus fruit. Elegant and very floral. I would have it anytime with a pizza with rocket salad, tomato and garlic

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For the grand finale,  I had the sparkling Basura Obscura. A great experience. Blind tasted, I could be in Franciacorta or Champagne. Terrific notes of almond biscuit, dry fruits and citronella. Medium body with a fine bubble and an elegant finale. 100% Pigato,  it rests in the Toirano caves for 5 years and is aged in 30% second hand barrique. The sparkler stays on its lees minimum 18 months.

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Next post we will travel to Friuli to discuss the wines of Cantina Cormons. Stay tuned!!!