A More Daring Sauvignon Blanc: 2016 Bisson Portofino Bianco Çimixà “L’Antico”

Posted on: 01/11/19 3:12 PM


Wild white flowers, peachcore, salt, herbs … the 2016 Bisson Portofino Bianco Çimixà “L’Antico” is simply superb and one of the most exciting and textured white wines we’ve tasted as of late. Think a more daring, texturally entrancing Sauvignon Blanc and you’re getting there. Sort of. Because Sauvignon Blanc makes this wine sound generic, when it is decidedly not. It is Ligurian, proudly and defiantly, and the Mediterranean salt licks the rim of your glass in every sip to prove it!

Bisson gets a lot of play on our shelves and you’ll see other offers from this remarkable estate later this year. That is no accident. Every bottle we taste from this estate needs to be experienced – I am not joking when I say that these are some of the most unique, exciting (and down right delicious) white wines coming out of Italy today. The superb Çimixà “L’Antico” is yet another gem from one of the wine world’s most unique souls, Pierluigi Lugano.


2016 Bisson Portofino Bianco Çimixà “L’Antico” 

Neal Rosenthal: “A true obscurity, indigenous Çimixà was on the brink of extinction in the 1970s when a local pastry chef sourced a mere 500 vines purported to be Çimixà and planted them together in a single plot. While the family resemblance is undeniable, Pierluigi’s “L’Antico” bottling stands apart from his others in its balance of elements and its texture. Its resplendent fruit is more viscous than his two Vermentinos, and though there is no shortage of salinity, it is the sumptuous mouthfeel of the Çimixà that grabs the attention first. Furthermore, while it is just as driven by minerality as its brethren, “L’Antico” is characterized more by chalk than by brine, and the wine overall possesses a greater sense of heft and solidity.”

More About the Wine

Enoteca Bisson was established in 1978 when Pierluigi Lugano fell in love with the wines of the Ligurian coastline. The more you drink his wines the more you’ll notice Mr. Lugano’s work has an undeniable relationship to the sea (he even ages some bottles in the ocean). All his wines – particularly the Çimixà – carry a distinct thread of a briny, salty chord, reverberating in bright citrus, sea-shells, wildflowers and herbs.

Mr. Lugano, a colorful sun-tanned artist, fisherman, wine shop owner (the shop is also named Bisson), has made it his life’s work to specializing in ancient, indigenous, and increasingly uncommon grape varieties grown in beloved Liguria. One of those is Çimixà.
The wine world is wide and diverse, but too often our wine choices can become narrow and parochial. The soulful work and dedication of vignerons like Mr. Lugano help preserve that diversity. And the work is not mere preservation for preservation’s sake. No. Wines from a grape like Cimixa prove that the history and diversity of wine exists for a reason – to open new doors to alternative experiences. This wine is flat out delicious. See for yourself.

Posted in Daily Flash By Tim Sellon