albium riviera ligure di ponente

Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town called Bordighera on the Italian Riviera where the wintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the insanity valve if you like!

Hospitality extrema

Coinciding with the evening’s planned inebriation was the chance to speak to someone who lives in the town of Bordighera and who I haven’t seen for many years. Our friend met with us in a relaxed bar and I recall only casually noting the enormity of the G&T’s we sipping were through.

pigato a massimo

By the time it came to something to eat, our host, Donato, was able to suggest a restaurant on the central Corso Italia. On arrival we were introduced to the owner, a sommelier, from whom we ordered a bottle of Costa de Vigne, 2018, a local ‘Pigato’ made by Massimo Alessandri. 

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Pigato variety

The Pigato variety is originally thought to be Greek but tends to be confined to the western Italian Riviera. This first bottle we ordered was much younger, with a bite of acidity and fresh clean herbal sweep of the palate. A simple wine without pretension.

The second bottle, pictured, was gifted to us by the owner and from the Riviera Ligure Di Ponente DOC that reaches from between the French border and Genoa.

This Pigato bore little resemblance to the first one. Instant detection of oak, and batonnage. A fatter wine aspiring to much more than a humble local variety.

Although I largely prefer to take a vegan menu, on this occasion I did enjoy the pasta with clams and artichoke. The richness of the food was paired very well with the Ligurian Poggio dei Gorleri Albium Pigato, 2014, as they performed a gastronomic dance across the senses on this mild wintry evening.

artichoke bordighera

In the rear-view mirror

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Bordighera is a small town with lots of heritage. The first tennis courts in Italy were created here, for use by British royals who languished above the town in a villa that a contemporary denizen pointed out to us. Many people that we spoke to were pleased to mention that the British population here was of a fair size.

Excepting myself, there was sobriety in this northern Italian town. It was relaxed, safe and, compared to Blighty these days, completely sane.

I do not have a record of the restaurant name (it is not even showing up on web searches), nor do I have a record of the owners' name who Kindly gifted us the delightful bottle of fine Pigato. Despite this, I am sure we will be back in the near future and those gaps will be filled in!

 

 

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As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.

 

 

Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!

 

Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.

 

Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.

 

The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.

 

Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch. 

 

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