Yachters that land in the Gulf of La Spezia have a lot of interesting opportunities to explore the hinterland, with a few bus stops going up the hills for instance to visit Castelnuovo Magra. The historic area is very beautiful. It was a fort and on 6 October 1306 Dante Alighieri was there to negotiate peace between the Malaspinas and the Bishop of Luni. Behind the Santa Maria Maddalena church today there is the Public Wine Shop of Lunigiana and Liguria... and it is there that Patrizio is heading!
The chairman of the Wine Shop, Alberto Tognoni, gives him some advice on Ligurian wines and combinations: Vermentino is the king of the area, produced more than all the others both to the west and to the east, Pigato is primarily made to the west, while the terraces recall the legendary Sciacchetrà, an extraordinary passito, on to Cinque Terre wine, a good white.
As regards combinations, the white wines – like Vermentino – are ideal with fish and with all the typical Ligurian products (vegetables, vegetable pies, mussels, pesto ...). Instead Sciacchetrà is a so-called “meditation wine”, produced in small quantities, alcohol strength about 18 degrees and a very beautiful amber colour; it goes well with desserts or if one wants to be a gourmet with herbal cheeses too. The name seems foreign, but the etymology is simply dialectal: in Cinque Terre “sciacchetrà” means “crush and put away.”
In the Gulf of La Spezia few wines are produced but there are some very good ones. The whole system is based on small wine producers that sell directly to restaurants in the area, in the spirit of “better fewer but better!”