Trekking and tasting among C.D.O. Ligurian vineyards
From west to east, we take you on a journey to discover the wine lands of Liguria, immersed in the autumn atmosphere.
This is the perfect time of year to take a walk in the woods, which are tinged with yellow, orange and a few hints of brown;and accompanied by the sounds of nature and the crunching of leaves underfoot. I
n keeping with tradition, it is also harvest time, which has been practised for centuries in these lands where the vineyards and hillsides, with their terracing, have become a characteristic feature of the Ligurian hinterland. Between walks, you can also enjoy a glass of the excellent local wines, renowned throughout the country for their quality.
There are 8 C.D.O. areas characterised by highly prized products that you can get to know thanks to numerous trekking itineraries among the vineyards.
Dolceacqua and Valle Arroscia: Rossese and Ormeasco
Rossese C.D.O. wine, with its peculiar ruby red colour and notes of rose and black pepper, has its origins around the Roman humpback bridge, with a view of the ruins of the Doria castle perched on the hilltop.
Already appreciated by Napoleon and Andrea Doria, you can taste this speciality on one of the many tours organised by the Gajaudo winery (http://www.gajaudo.it/), after a walk through the caruggi of the old town. On the ascent to the Doria Castle, you can visit the welcoming headquarters of the Enoteca Regionale della Liguria (Ligurian Regional Winehouse), where numerous tastings are organised. In the Imperia town region there is also another valley to discover: the Arroscia Valley, a treasure trove of villages and history.
Treat yourself to a walk in these places, where time seems to stand still. Pass under the 15th-century arcades of Pieve di Teco, explore the charming historic centre of Vessalico, visit the herb museum in Cosio d’Arroscia and admire the five 19th-century fortifications of Pornassio. These are just some of the experiences you can enjoy in this valley.
If you wish to immerse yourself in unspoilt nature, you can choose from numerous paths, which can also be travelled on horseback. Among the many gems of these lands, Ormeasco wine certainly has a place of honour: a C.D.O. wine, ruby red with an intense perfume of liquorice, bitter almonds, blackberries and cherries. You can taste this exCelle townnce at the Guglierame winery in Ormeasco (www.ormeasco-guglierame.it/) or at the Azienda agricola Cascina Nirasca 10 km from Pieve di Teco (www.cascinanirasca.com/).
Vara Valley and Magra Valley: Colli di Luni
The Magra Valley’s vocation for wine production was already known in Roman times. This is the land where the prized Colli di Luni, Vermentino and Albarola wines are produced. With the granting of the C.D.O. came recognition for the great commitment of local companies and of the importance of protecting this ancient tradition. The territory in which these “food ambassadors” of Liguria are born is of rare beauty. You will be able to discover this thanks to the excursions and vineyard visits organised by the “Dal Vara al Magra” association, which has always aimed at promoting quality agricultural products. The itinerary promotes 30 typical products, one of which is of C.D.O., the well-known Colli di Luni wine (white and red). You can enjoy a few glasses of this fine beverage at the Azienda agricola Lambruschi in Ortonovo (http://www.ottavianolambruschi.com/).
As you explore the valley, you will also come across numerous historical villages, such as Sarzana, Ameglia, Vezzano and Castelnuovo Magra, where you can visit the headquarters of the Enoteca Regionale della Liguria, at Palazzo Amati. Also worth a stop is the Il Torchio winery, where you can taste and buy C.D.O. wines.
C.D.O. Cinque Terre and Sciacchetrà
In the area of the Cinque Terre and Levanto, you can admire jagged coastlines, sheer cliffs, inlets, bays and small beaches. In addition to the picturesque towns of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – a visit to which is the icing on the cake of this trip – you can taste a very precious wine: C.D.O. Sciacchetrà. A sweet passito wine obtained through a constant struggle with the difficult and harsh production territory. Another renowned wine is the white C.D.O. wine. Cinque Terre. If you want to learn more about the origin of these quality products, you can taste both wines in the many wineries that also offer guided tours of the vineyards overlooking the sea. From the sea to the hinterland, travel these roads to discover the area which is capable of producing proper “enological gems” that you can savour during numerous tastings.