Friday, July 15, 2016

A Taste of Dolcetto in Liguria with Ormeasco di Pornassio

As we all soak up the summer rays we can also dream of doing the same on the Italian Riveria. If you're not familiar with where exactly the Italian Riviera is, it's actually located in the region of Liguria in the top northwestern part of Italy, right before you cross into the French Riviera, la Costa d'Azzurro. You'll find it located in the Imperia province in the Arroscia Valley on the slopes where it gets influences from the Ligurian Alps and the Gulf of Genova.

Oneglia in the province of Imperia
Oneglia in the Imperia province by Giancarlo Scola

The Red Wines of Liguria
Of course many of us think of sipping on something chilled and cold in the midst of the heat, but this region also has some red grapes that it's known for, one being rossese from the Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC and the other red grape we're talking about today, ormeasco, from the Ormeasco di Pornassio DOC. Previously, the ormeasco wines fell under the Riviera di Ponente DOC since it comes from the western part of Liguria in the Ponente. The Ormeasco di Pornassio DOC includes the red Ormeasco as well as Ormeasco Superiore and the rose' Sciac-tra.



What is Ormeasco?
Ormeasco is the brother/sister grape of dolcetto that you may be more familiar with just north of Liguria in the region of Piedmont. It's believed it was brought over to Liguria by the Saracens. But why would I want to drink a red in the hot sun? Well ormeasco is used also to produce a rose' called sciac-tra. In previous articles speaking of wines and grapes from Liguria you may have remembered me sharing a wine from this region known as sciacchetra, but it's not the same wine as you can see from the spelling.

Ramoino Ormeasco di Pornassio
Courtesy of 365 Magazine & AIS Liguria

The Sciac-tra rose typically will show bright fruit of cherries and raspberries and is best served slightly chilled. So grab a glass, kick your feet up and cin cin to ormeasco!