We had a question sent to us by a member traveling in Liguria asking about the difference between Pigato and Vermentino. I figured instead of answering the question directly, it would be helpful to try to address it in a general forum.
As far as I understand, Pigato and Vermentino are the same variety from a DNA perspective but they are different biotypes. This means that while they are "genetically the same" grape, they have noticeable differences in their morphology. This is why it is common for producers to bottle them separately in Liguria. In general, varieties that have been around longer have had more time to develop slight genetic mutations that can cause noticeable physiological differences. The most obvious example of this is Pinot Noir/Gris/Blanc which is genetically the same variety, but clearly very different in its presentation and resulting wine.
Thank you for your reply to my question Geoff, it all makes sense now.
Is there anyone here who have tried a lot of Ligurian wine and could help me understand the different in taste as well? From the few wines I have been able to try so far I feel like Pigato tends to be a bit more sharp and a bit bitter, while Vermentino is a little rounder but less aromatic. However - I have tried too few wines to know that’s the case and just not producer style.
Looking forward to see if anyone has some experience to share!
I remembered finding this 2016 article by Megan Krigbaum on PUNCH informative and just revisited it. It's worth a read - offers perspective from a biologist, producers and sommeliers, and notes from a comparative tasting as well.
Thank you for this breakdown. It is quite helpful.
I am no deep expert but I have had the Colle dei Bardelli Pigato and found it to be attractive and a nice pairing wine.
To compare it to Aia Vecchia 2016 Vermentino (Toscana IGT) which I recently tasted, the Pigato did have more of a bitter and lightly nutty quality but it had an extra year or two of bottle age, too.
The Aia was certainly aromatic, but more in a white floral way, with the Bardellini’s aromatics being more of the marine succulent vegetal way, with the Aia having more of a pronounced top note. But the Pigato has good aromatic complexity too. So I guess it depends on how you define more aromatic. But point bring I see it possible to point out a Vermentino as being more aromatic than a Pigato.
And these are just two reference points too, so not meant to be dispositive in any way.
Another interesting Ligurian white: Mataoussu. Punta Crena a source, they say the only one, but I have read it exists in the vineyards of two other producers too.
If you find out more while you are there, let us know!
Thank you so much for sharing - this is just what I was looking for!
Read a few brief sentences in a couple articles linking Vermentino to Furmint, does anyone have any incite or additional information?