Is it over? Are we done with winter yet? The calendar says it’s spring but it sure doesn’t feel like it! Nevertheless, we can still dream of those long summer days just around the corner and how we will bask in the warm rays of sunshine. And is there anything more refreshing on a day like that than an ice-cold soda straight from the glass bottle? We all know the feeling. The lively fizz that tickles your nose and the crisp taste seem to refresh your entire body and perfectly quench your thirst. Like the sweet relief of a cool breeze or a little cloud passing overhead on a blisteringly hot summer day, the right beverage can seem like a godsend. I’d like to think that’s exactly what the Ruffino family at Punta Crena had in mind when they made this Lumassina at their winery overlooking the Mediterranean. Winemaking in that area is thirsty work! At 11% alcohol and sporting the slightest little spritz, this vivacious white wine is sure to quench any thirst and be your cool breeze when you need it. It offers refreshing flavors of tart apple, lemongrass, and grapefruit braced with brilliant acidity and a light fizz that will make you say, “Ahhh…” While much of the country is still stuck in winter, it seems like the perfect time to dream of the long warm days to come. Stock up now so when the warm weather arrives, you’ll be ready to crack that can of soda—or better yet, pop open this bottle of Ligurian wine—raise a toast to summer and gulp it down for instant refreshment. Cheers!
The vineyards of Punta Crena (which is named for a large promontory jutting into the sea at the edge of the village) are all within 1200 meters of the water and enjoy sea breezes that help keep the grapes healthy and happy. The Ruffino family are proud to work almost exclusively with local varietals, but they dont have much company. As a result, several of Punta Crenas wines are one of a kind: the Mataòssu and Cruvin are entirely unique, and the Barbarossa is the only one produced in Italy. They believe that their only job after the harvest is simply to avoid ruining their lovely fruit as it turns to wine. These are light, fun wines with no pretension.
A long, crescent-shaped sliver of mountainous coastline ranging from the French border in the west to that of Tuscany in the east, Liguria is a region of unrivaled Mediterranean charm. This applies not only to its colorful seaside villages and carefree, welcoming people, but also to the wines it produces—crisp whites and light reds designed to be quaffed with locally caught seafood.
Viticulture has thrived along these coastal hillsides since Etruscan times. Ancient stone terraces line the steep slopes all along the Riviera, many abandoned while others still host olive trees, lemon trees, and of course, the vine. What Liguria lacks in acreage, it makes up for in diversity and originality: home to numerous indigenous grape varieties, it produces wines of infectious local character.
The hallmarks of Ligurian wines are fragrant aromatics and lively freshness. Whites from grapes like Vermentino and Pigato capture the pervasive flavors of wild herbs and citrus with a sea-breeze salinity, while the rare reds from Rossese, among others, have a brightness of flavor that allows them to complement dishes from the sea or land—served with a slight chill, of course.
While Kermit’s history in the region is relatively recent, Liguria has rapidly become one of his favorite places to visit. It’s hard to blame him—enjoying a crisp, perfumed white with a platter of fried sea critters on the Mediterranean is definitely not the worst part of the job.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa