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Claudio Delfino
August 17, 2023 | Claudio Delfino

Exploring the Fascinating Flavors of Pigato: A Hidden Gem of Ligurian Wines

Exploring the Fascinating Flavors of Pigato: A Hidden Gem of Ligurian Wines

When it comes to Italian wines, the spotlight often shines on classic varietals like Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Aglianico, etc. However, nestled along the picturesque coastline of Liguria, there's a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by wine enthusiasts - the Pigato grape.

Origins and Terroir: Pigato is a white grape variety native to the Ligurian region of Italy, particularly in the western part known as the Riviera di Ponente. The name "Pigato" is said to derive from "pigàu," meaning spotted or speckled, which could refer to the appearance of the grape clusters.

The terroir of Liguria plays a significant role in shaping the characteristics of Pigato wines. The vineyards are located on steep slopes overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, benefiting from the maritime influence that helps maintain the grape's vibrant freshness and distinct minerality, even imparting a touch of seabreeze in the flavors of some of the best expressions.

Aromatic Complexity: Pigato wines are celebrated for their aromatic complexity, capturing the essence of the coastal landscape. On the nose, expect a delightful blend of ripe stone fruits like peach and apricot, sometimes accompanied by zesty citrus notes of lemon and a touch of tangy pineapple. These fruit-driven aromas are interwoven in floral scents, evoking images of the Ligurian coastline adorned with yellow and white blossoms of wild flowers and mediterranean bushes in the summertime, as well as herbal elements - aromas of liguria-native basil are often distinctively found.

Mineral Elegance: One of the standout characteristics of Pigato wines is their pronounced minerality. The soils of Liguria, a mix of clay and limestone, lend the wines a distinct stony quality that adds a layer of elegance and depth. This minerality complements the fruitiness, creating a harmonious balance that makes Pigato a versatile companion for various dishes.

Food Pairing Pleasures: Pigato wines' versatility extends to the dining table, where they can be paired with a range of Mediterranean-inspired dishes. The lively freshness and mineral notes make them a natural match for seafood delicacies, such as grilled prawns, fresh oysters, or a simple plate of linguine with clams. Additionally, their aromatic complexity and structure allow them to hold their own alongside herb-infused dishes like pesto pasta and roasted vegetables, as well as white meat dishes.

Ageability and Exploration: While Pigato wines are often enjoyed in their youth for their vibrant freshness, some bottlings can also exhibit aging potential. With time, the fruit flavors may evolve, and the wine may gain more complexity while maintaining its refreshing character.

For wine enthusiasts seeking an exciting journey off the beaten path of Italian wines, Pigato presents an opportunity to explore a lesser-known yet incredibly rewarding varietal. Its unique blend of fruit, minerality, and coastal charm captures the essence of Liguria in every sip, making Pigato a true hidden gem waiting to be uncorked and savored.

Here's a link to our 2020 Pigato by Marcello Calleri, which was awarded the prestigious "3 bicchieri" Gambero Rosso (maximum score Italy-wide), an exclusive import of Delfino Fine Wines in the United States. 


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