Wines to Seek Out
Punta Crena's largest vineyard holding is a 2 hectare plot of Pigato. Beyond that, they are working with several micro-vineyards which give rise to a wide spectrum of unusual wines, including a Cruvin and Mataòssu — likely the only two examples of wines from such grapes (unfortunately, I have not tried either). The upshot: these wines are extremely rare and require quite a bit of hunting. Importer Kermit Lynch's website is a good place to start.
Punta Crena Lumassina Colline Savonesi Frizzante
Can we all agree that wine is, first and foremost, about pleasure? And secondly, can we also agree that satisfaction comes in many different forms? Since no one can disagree with that (I mean really: who would argue?), let me just say that Punta Crena's frizzante Lumassina could be one of Italy's top wines if we only scaled wine on the Fun-o-Meter. A sea-kissed blast of grapey fruit and floral fragrance, it exudes the kind of unpretentious pleasure that often goes uncelebrated by the wine media.
Punta Crena "Vigneto Ca’ da Rena" Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato
The seafood-and pesto-centric cuisine of Liguria has largely elevated Vermentino, but a clonal variant called Pigato, which takes over in Western Liguria, can be richly rewarding. "Vigneto Ca' da Rena" is the best Pigato I've come across, striking a chord with its pleasant aromas and purity of texture, recalling melons, pineapples and white flowers on its rounded frame. Best of all: a slight salinity to the finish that acts as an invitation for more.
Punta Crena "Vigneto Isasco" Riviera Ligure di Ponente Rossese
Talk about sticking to your guns: winemaker Tommaso Ruffino's Rossese is a fascinating wine of eccentricity. Not for one second does it stray into "radio friendly" territory to offer wine lover's what they are used to in a red wine. Tannins? Have some minerality instead. Cherries and berries? Sorry, the chef prefers pomegranate. Graphite? Vanilla? Anything grounding and familiar? Have a basket of flowers. It is as though a Gewürztraminer decided to play the role of a red wine, only to discover it prefers being a red wine. Its confident in its singularity, and that is part of the charm. Ruffino has made a red wine that says "here I am, take it or leave it," and even after a second — then a third — glass, I opted to take it.