May 24th-Pigato (Vermentino)

Vermentino is a white grape that is grown extensively around the world. I last wrote about it June 23rd, 2021 when I sampled a bottle from Paso Robles, CA. This time, I eyed a bottle of Pigato, one of the many alternative names for Vermentino. Pigato is the name used in Liguria, a wine region along the Italian Riviera in northwest Italy, just south of the Piedmont region and west of Emilia-Romagna. Liguria is one of the lowest wine producing regions in Italy, producing roughly 0.2% of all DOC wines in Italy. Vermentino is an old grape variety with a fuzzy history. Some hypothesize it originated in Spain then was brought to Corsica and Sardinia, while others say it came from Greece, and still others say the Middle East. When Vermentino is grown in Liguria, it is listed widely under the name Vermentino and can be used in blends with the native grape Albarola, or made into a varietal wine. In Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC, it is listed as Pigato. As a result of being on the Mediterranean Sea, the Pigato from this area is known to have a mild salty aroma. 

This week, I drank a 2021 Claudio Vio Pigato from Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC. Upon reading about the producer, it was noted that many winegrowers in Ligure disagree with the genetic confirmation which proved Vermentino and Pigato are the same grape. Their arguments include the fact that the grapes look different in the vineyard, they are fermented differently, and they taste different. The name Pigato refers to the freckles that appear on the grape skins. The wine was a bright brassy straw color. It featured watery legs. The aromas of white grapefruit pith, green apple, rubbed sage, dried lavender, jasmine flower and ocean air could be coaxed from the glass with a little effort. This dry wine had a reasonable amount of acid and moderate level of alcohol. This wine had weight without being too heavy on a warm day.  The palate featured a surprise hint of honey that combined with white peach, green apple, sage, white grapefruit, and sea salt. The combination of the bitter grapefruit, salt flakes, and slightly under ripe fruit was oddly addicting. This bottle could age for a few years but I don’t know that I could hold onto it that long! While drinking this, I wish I had gotten sushi for dinner but the floral notes would be great with pesto as well. Perfect bottle for a nice summer evening!


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