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2022 Riviera Ligure di Ponente Vermentino “Vigneto Isasco”

Punta Crena
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Arriving in Liguria with my colleagues last June felt like stepping into technicolor after nearly two weeks of pounding the pavement along France’s fabled wine route. In place of the hallowed grands crus and formidable terroirs, we found ourselves meandering through quaint fishing villages, feasting our eyes on a vivid palette of pastel-painted dwellings and olive groves set against a glimmering cerulean sea. In one such village, perched on a hillside above the shore, sits the charming Punta Crena cantina. It is the epitome of a family-run operation, equal parts chaos and contentment. The joy is palpable—three generations, all thriving and brimming with zeal, rooted around their humble cellar in Varigotti.
    Less than a mile away, the Vermentino grapes for Vigneto Isasco grow on a gravelly, red clay slope where they soak up the site’s abundant minerals, salty breezes, and Mediterranean sun. The resulting bianco evokes a pristine sense of place with delightful, almost briny salinity and crisp, citrus-scented freshness. Locals enjoy it with lumache, a Ligurian specialty of steamed snails doused in herbs and butter. For a more garden-variety pairing, marine mollusks (prepared in a similar fashion) will make for a delicious match.

Madison H. Brown

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2022
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Vermentino
Appellation: Riviera Ligure di Ponente
Country: Italy
Region: Liguria
Producer: Punta Crena
Winemaker: Tommaso Ruffino & Family
Vineyard: 16 - 31 years, 1.5 ha
Soil: Red Clay, Gravel
Aging: Wines spend four months on the lees
Farming: Traditional
Alcohol: 12.5%

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About The Region

Liguria

map of Liguria

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.

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Where the newsletter started

Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

Read the whole story

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