Pierluigi Lugano, a teacher, and sommelier that has worked his way from wine retail to grape growing is behind Bisson Portofino Ciliegiolo Rosato 2018, a delectable wine from the Ligurian coast, in the heart of the Italian Riviera.
One of the most respected members of the community, Mr. Lugano has a particular interest in growing autochthonous grapes such as Bianchetta Genovese, Arbarola, Bosco, and Ciliegiolo, a noble grape related to Sangiovese, from which this rosé is made from.
The Ligurian vineyards, some of the steepest on earth, cannot support mechanization, and everything must be done by hand. It takes courage to cultivate the vines high above the Mediterranean Sea. Still, Mr. Lugano vinifies each plot separately and applies biodynamic practices to his vines, resulting in low yields.
Pierluigi is enthusiastic to carry on traditions passed on for generations since the ancient Greeks first planted vines on the treacherous stony slopes composed of sandstone, clay, and gravel. The result is expressive wines with solid structure, a mineral core, and excellent ageing potential.
To make Bisson rosé, the grapes are destemmed, macerated for 2-3 days in contact with the skins, and then pressed. The wine is vinified using the Salasso method, characterized by bleeding a portion of the pink juice from the grape must as a by-product of red wine fermentation, fermented separately to produce rosato.
This claret-colored wine with a slight sparkle from the core offers a nose of medium intensity, with fresh, tart, red cherries and raspberries around scents of shaved rhubarb, ocean breeze, crushed wet rocks, dusty roses and the slightest hints of orange zest. On the palate, the wine is dry and carried by a restrained medium acid that permeates the soft tannins as you’re greeted with a pleasant alcoholic warmth.
Your mid-palate is delighted with cherries, pomegranate seed, and cranberries that extend to a medium finish in a very entertaining wine, perfect on its own or paired with just about any food. I cannot get over how seductive the colour is, and yet it’s like a child joyfully bouncing off the palate.
Today the multifaceted Pierluigi Lugano separates his time between his wine shop in Chiavari, his wine cellar, and his vineyards living the sweet life, or as you would say in Italy, “Vivente la Dolce Vita!”
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