I first experienced Sciacchetrà wine in college, while travelling through the Cinque Terre with my roommates from Bologna. The locals in the town of Monterosso where we rented a room for a few nights tried to sell us on the idea that this was a magical wine that would make men fall madly in love with us. In reality, we were the one to fall in love- with the local Ligurian pesto and fresh seppia.
I didn’t know anything about wine back then, but the curious, non-Italian-sounding name of this Sciacchetrà wine stuck in the recesses of my memory until I found a bottle on the shelf in a little shop in Los Angeles back in 2004. I brought it home with me and squirreled it away in my cellar, where it had been resting until now…
Sciacchetrà is made from Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola grapes. The grapes are dried on straw mats in the shade at the seaside within the confines of the Cinque Terre area- a beautiful and colorful string of five towns along the Ligurian coast. The bottle I acquired was made from the Cooperative of the Cinque Terre, which means the grapes were harvested along all five little towns and then assembled together in one communal winery.
This version of Sciacchetrà is just stunning on the nose- all waxy, sticky, honeyed notes woven through by a hint of seaside funk. On the palate the wine was sweet, unctious and gorgeously reminiscent of a fine Tuscan Vin Santo.
Amazingly, with all that sugar and alcohol, there was still a razor sharp push of acidity right through the center of the wine. This is what the Italians would call a “vino da meditazione”, or a “wine to meditate over”. Assuming you want to enjoy this wine alongside some food, I can suggest from personal experience that a nice piece of seared foie gras will certainly do it justice!
I ordered this lovely California product from Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras where the Gonzalez family has been crafting these fatty duck livers for years. And as my little sister always says, “nothing says love quite like organ meat.” So true.