The fame of the Cinque Terre is due also to its products, the dry white wine, simply called ‘Cinque Terre’ and the ‘Sciacchetra”, a prized dessert wine made from prime grapes dried to the point of holding only a few drops of sweet juice.
A colorful addition to the Cinque Terre products is ‘limoncino’; a dessert wine made from steeping lemon peels in pure alcohol and then adding sugar and water to make a fragrant and fresh liquor.
The lemons, another famous product of the Cinque Terre are prominently on display in the many ‘limoneti’ (lemon groves) and at the annual Lemon Festival held each year in Monterosso during the season of Pentecost.
The Sentieri dell’Uva (Grape Routes) are still as they once were, with fig trees planted in strategic positions to give shade during breaks from work, agaves planted to mark boundaries, to line the footpaths along steep, stony steps and to indicate the rail terminals of the recently installed monorails which are the only vertical structures emerging from this seemingly completely, horizontal landscape. Many dry stone walls support this terraced landscape.
The large wicker baskets of grapes (corbe) are arranged along the “pose” (little walls, as wide as tables, built solely for this purpose). These include Albarola (Trebbiana), Biancorotto, Bruciapagliaio, Piccabon (Pizzamosca). To make white table wines the following varieties are used: Fiore di Bosco, Rappolungo, Fogiaccia, Ruspara, and Sesagra. Baskets full of Magnagra (Albarola), from which the famous Black Sciacchetra’ is made, are handled with extreme care and set aside.
The Cinque Terre grape tracks reach down to the sea. In the past, people used to anchor small fishing boats called “gozzi” immediately below the terraced vineyards. Baskets laden with grapes were then lowered from above into these small boats which then sailed round to the otherwise inaccessible village.
Nowadays this method is nothing but a distant memory, but by visiting the Cinque Terre you are still able to sample some of the most prized wines of the world that have been created by centuries of backbreaking experience.
- Cantina Sociale Cinque Terre, with on-line purchase
- Az. Agricola Luciano Capellini di L. Capellini Volastra, Cinque Terre
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