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Bisson, Pigato Colline del GenovesatoLiguria, Italy 2021 (750mL)

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Bisson, Pigato Colline del Genovesato Liguria, Italy 2021 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

Taking your first sip of this invigorating white is like jumping straight into the Mediterranean Sea rather than tiptoeing in gradually. Not only is it a benchmark in its home region, it also provides one of the most vivid evocations of “terroir” you’ll ever taste. Terroir, as we never tire of saying, is much more than just soil; it’s the “total natural environment” of a vineyard, which in this case is the gorgeous sliver of land in northwest Italy called Liguria.


Its northern border is a stretch of Alps that separates it from Piedmont; its southern border is the Mediterranean Sea. In between is lots of dense, hilly forest spilling down to a narrow strip of beach. This wine, crafted from the local Pigato variety, takes you right there. But there’s something else about this wine that’s just as important to mention: It is not a novelty to be enjoyed on vacation and never again, but rather a world-class white with real structure and substance. The Bisson name resonates well beyond the confines of Liguria, or Italy for that matter—any smart international wine list (or private collection) is elevated by the inclusion of this iconic $35 bottle!



Bisson is based in Chiavari, a coastal village east of Genoa, and this wine carries a “Colline del Genovesato” (“hills of Genoa”) geographic indication. The vineyards that supply this wine are south-facing sites overlooking the Tigullio Gulf. These vineyards rise sharply to elevations approaching 300 meters, in rocky soils of clay, sandstone, and some limestone. The proximity to the Mediterranean Sea lends a saline quality to the wines grown here, while the aromatic shrubbery of the coastline lends herbal notes.


Pierluigi Lugano founded Bisson in the late 1970s, starting out as a bulk wine trader and wine merchant before acquiring vineyards of his own. He continues to operate his enoteca (wine shop) in Chiavari, not far from the picturesque town of Portofino, while also crafting wines from both his own vineyards and those of contract growers. The Pigato and Vermentino wines of Bisson have become regional benchmarks, and he also works with other varieties native to the Ligurian Riviera, including the white Bianchetta Genovese and the red Ciliegiolo.


The Pigato variety is thought to be a genetic mutation of Vermentino (a.k.a. Rolle in France), even though producers usually insist that they are completely different grapes—Pigato has its origins in Liguria (via Greece), and while Vermentino has dispersed to many other regions, Pigato has remained resolutely local. This 100% Pigato is fermented and aged in stainless steel, spending about six months in contact with its lees (spent yeasts).


In the olden days, many “fresh” Italian white wines like this one were oxidized by the time they reached an American port, but times have changed; I could absolutely envision laying this wine down for short-term aging, although it is ridiculously delicious now. This 2021 is a pale yellow-gold in the glass with greenish tints, with evocative scents of lemon/lime, green apple, yellow peach, pine nuts, wild fennel, and sea salt. It is medium to medium-plus in body, with some texture to the mid-palate followed by a cleansing blast of acidity. What pleases most is the wine’s vibrant energy—it hums and vibrates on the palate, and leaves behind lots of herb and citrus sensations on the long, aromatic finish. Pull the cork soon and consult your favorite seafood cookbook for something appropriate to pair with it—fried calamari would be an easy choice, a whole grilled branzino a little more ambitious. Whatever you choose, keep a second bottle close at hand. Enjoy!




Bisson, Pigato Colline del Genovesato Liguria, Italy 2021 - SommSelect

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionLiguria
  • SoilLimestone, Sandstone, Clay
  • FarmingOrganic Practices
  • BlendPigato
  • Alcohol12.5%

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionLiguria
  • SoilLimestone, Sandstone, Clay
  • FarmingOrganic Practices
  • BlendPigato
  • Alcohol12.5%
  • Temp.Serve at 45-50° F
  • GlasswareAll-Purpose Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2024
  • DecantingOptional
  • PairingFettuccine ai Frutti di Mare