Did you know that the Cinque Terre were born and prospered thanks to the production of wine? But which wines are mainly produced?
White wine makes up the majority of wine production in the Cinque Terre. In 1973, this wine was one of the first in Italy to be awarded DOC certification (denominazione d’origine controllata, controlled designation of origin) certification.
Cinque Terre DOC is made from three white grape varietals Bosco and Albarola (both indigenous to the area) along with Vermentino (a varietal grown in the coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany, Sardinia and Corsica). A small percentage of other antique varietals indigenous to the Cinque Terre, such as Pigiabun or White Rossese, may be added to the blend.
The result is a dry white wine with an intense straw yellow color and an intense minerality, often having Mediterranean herbal or floral notes, honey and faint aromas citrus fruits can also be perceived on the nose and on the palate, it has a long finish and a pleasant acidity. This is a wine that perfectly accompanies the local specialties of the Cinque Terre such as the many fish dishes available (anchovies prepared in various ways, for example) pasta with pesto sauce, or even local meat and vegetable dishes such as vegetable pies and Ligurian-style rabbit.
Over the last years the Cinque Terre wine Sciacchetrà has become famous in the whole world. It’s a passito, a dessert wine, its “formula” has probably very old roots.
At the beginning of the grape harvest the winegrower carefully selects the most beautiful bunches of grapes among his fields. For the Sciacchetrà there are used the same grape varietals as for the Cinque Terre white wine but the grapes of the Bosco varietal are the most adequate ones for the passito wine, mainly because the bunches are not too compact (and air can circulate during the drying process) and the grape skin is not too thin.
But one of the main reasons is for sure its intense aromatic taste. The winegrower hangs the selected bunches up one by one in the cellars or in a garage or in a cottage in the vineyards, or he distributes them thoroughly aired boxes in a dry place. Thus they dry up for about 50 days, at least until the 1st November. Thereafter the winegrower destems the bunches by hand, grape by grape.
The result is a concentrated wine, sweet and with an alcoholic strength of up to 17 %. Very characteristic is the minerality in combination with the sweetness that never becomes sticky. This wine traditionally accompanies the dessert but it is great also with cheeses especially with blue cheeses.
It’s always been a very precious wine, important and very sought after.
Nowadays this wine is sold only in very expensive bottles of 0,375 ml, but for the Cinque Terre inhabitants it has always been one of the most important things they could have in their cellars, every family produced its own Sciacchetrà.
It was the most important gift a person from the Cinque Terre could make to emphasize his gratefulness. In a family in the Cinque Terre a bottle of Sciacchetrà was opened only in very special occasions like weddings or baptisms. Another particularity of the Sciacchetrà is its longevity thanks to its high sugar concentration. Thus it’s not so rare that people open bottles of 25 years of age or more for a special occasion.
If you are interested in a complete book on the wine of the Cinque Terre and the main producers, we recommend the following book: “Cinque Terre, vineyards with a sea view”, full of photography and useful information.
Questo contenuto è disponibile anche in: Italian
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