The rugged terrain of this slender seaside region makes grape growing a challenge, meaning that vineyards are scattered along the Italian Riviera and wine production is limited.
The legend among Liguria’s wines is Cinque Terre, a white made around the "five lands", a series of fishing villages nestled in the cliffs along the coast north of La Spezia. Vines there have been planted since antiquity on scarcely accessible terraces. Most Cinque Terre is dry, though the sweet Sciacchetrà is coveted by those in the know. Near La Spezia and crossing the border of Tuscany is the DOC zone of Colli di Luni where red and white wines, notably Vermentino, show class.
The recent DOCs for Colline di Levanto and Golfo del Tigullio cover most of the other vineyards along the Riviera Levante, the coast to the southeast of Genoa. Most of Liguria’s limited commercial wine production is concentrated along the Ponente coast to the southwest. The first wine to be classified was Rossese di Dolceacqua, whose soft fruit and full flavor make it an uncommonly attractive red.
The extensive Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC zone covers the other classic wines of the area: the white Pigato and Vermentino and the red Ormeasco (a local Dolcetto) and Rossese. Within the DOC zone are areas with special subdenominations for certain wines: Albenga and Finale for Pigato, Rossese and Vermentino and Riviera dei Fiori for all types. Like Vermentino, Pigato is a white of undeniable class whose prospects seem limited only by lack of vineyard space. Most other wines of Liguria are curiosities, local whites and reds that are usually at their best young and close to home. Such rarities as Buzzeto and Granaccia, Coronata and Lumassina are uniquely and proudly Ligurian.