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Enoteca Bisson was born in 1978 when Pierluigi Lugano fell in love with the wines of the Ligurian coastline. He began as a trader in small lots of bulk wine, later became a wine merchant and finally a grower in his own right. He now splits his time between his busy wine shop in Chiavari, the wine cellar and his vineyards.

For the grapes he purchases, he works hand in hand with local growers from pruning to harvest, then carefully vinifies the different lots of grapes. Lugano is a serious student of oenology and is an expert on the local grape varieties. His passion extends to the preservation of local traditions and this is reflected in the distinctive character and personality of his large range of wines from the Cinque Terre region.

It takes a heroic effort to cultivate vines on the steep slopes of the Ligurian coastline high above the Mediterranean Sea. Mechanization of vineyard tasks is out of the question and everything must be done by hand. Only truly passionate winegrowers are willing to carry on the traditions that have come down through the generations since the ancient Greeks first planted vines on the steep, stony slopes here. Lugano works closely with several small, local growers. He believes, as we do, that wine is made in the vineyards and he closely controls the work done in the field. Further, he has embarked on an ambitious program to purchase his own parcels in prime zones throughout the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas. He staunchly defends indigenous, and increasingly rare, grape varieties and works tirelessly to ensure that they do not disappear for future generations of wine lovers. He is in the forefront of the movement to prove the worthiness of the Bianchetta Genovese, the Alberola and Bosca as well as the scintillating Ciliegiolo.

The small but very well equipped cellar is designed so that each lot of grapes can be vinified individually. With the exception of an occasional experiment with barrel aging, Lugano vinifies his entire range of wines in stainless steel to preserve the essential fruit of each vineyard site and each grape type.

2016 “Bianco delle Venezie” Vino Frizzante Trevigiana: Dynamic and tireless Pierluigi Lugano is not only our source of great Ligurian wine from indigenous varieties—he is responsible for one of the highlights of our sparkling wine portfolio: the ever-popular frizzante known as “Glera” for the past several years, which takes on a new description as “Bianco delle Venezie” with the 2016 vintage. For many years now, Lugano has worked with his good friend Eli Spagnol of Torre Zecchei in the elite Valdobbiadene district of the Veneto, tailoring the production of a racy, vivid, beautifully brisk Prosecco to Rosenthal Wine Merchant’s exacting specifications. In a sea of vapid, overly sweet Prosecco, this frizzante stands out proudly. Spagnol is in charge of a mere 30 hectares—tiny by Prosecco standards—and our wine is hand-harvested from shockingly steep hillside vineyards in the DOCG zone of Valdobiaddene. Made using careful temperature regulation in order to preserve delicacy and freshness, the wine is bottled with just two grams per liter of residual sugar—a refreshingly bone-dry offering that stands in sharp contrast to its many cloying peers. Clean, bright, and refreshing, it presents notes of acacia honey, white flowers, crunchy green apples, and tart nectarines atop a subtly mineral underlay. Glera Explained
Bisson Ciliegiolo Rose Ciliegiolo, Golfo del Tigullio: is a traditional red grape variety that is rarely seen. Piero Lugano vinifies it to showcase its light and fruity character. When presenting it, we group this wine with our classic series of Rosés as it is released in the spring following the prior year’s harvest. Lugano proudly maintains this variety in both the Trigoso and Campegli vineyards situated in the hills above Sestri Levante and Chiavari, respectively. It is vinified dry, tastes of red cherry and wild berries and its brilliant cherry color is a particular joy to behold. Approximately 400 cases are imported for the US market annually.
Bisson Vermentino Intigroso Vermentino Vigne Intrigoso, Golfo del Tigullio: from Lugano’s most prestigious vineyard site: “Trigoso”; these steeply terraced vineyards produce low yields of a full bodied wine with mint, mineral, and tea leaf flavors; the intensity of flavors and the rich, golden color are produced from extensive lees contact during the fermentation and elevage; the wine is normally bottled in May of the year following harvest; very limited production … approximately 100 cases per annum are allocated to the USA.
Bisson-Vermentino-Vignerta Vermentino Vignaerta, Golfo del Tigullio: a more elegant expression of Vermentino, leaner than the Intrigoso” but with great complexity, showing bright acidity, brilliant length and strong minerality leavened by notes of citrus, almond, and licorice; the grapes for this cuvée are sourced from the slopes of the Campegli vineyard located in the village of Castiglione Chiavarese; approximately 100 cases per year are exported for our use in the USA.
Bisson Bianchetta Genovese Bianchetta Genovese U Pastine: the term U Pastine is from the local dialect indicating a very special product, appropriate for this rare white grape found only in Liguria. Lugano has saved several parcels from extinction and from which he creates a truly unique white wine that is delicate, lively and satisfying, filled with vibrant minerality; it is particularly delightful when married to the white-fleshed fish that frequent the shores of this part of Liguria … the bianchetti, the nasello and tiny, exquisitely flavored langostino.
Bisson Pigato Pigato: quite limited in production as it is difficult to produce and even more difficult to find the “true” variety. A wine of finesse without the body of the preceding whites but with unique and intriguing flavors that pair exceedingly well with the fish married to herbs that is traditional in Lugurian cuisine. There are two vineyard plots: the “Tenute di Trigoso” in the hills of Sestri Levante and “Verici” situated in the commune of Casarza Ligure. The wine is bottled in the spring following the harvest and rarely gets a chance to show its aging ability since the precious little quantity that is produced is consumed within the year!
Bisson Marea Marea Cinque Terre: made from a blend of several traditional local grape varieties: Bosco (60% of the blend), Vermentino (20%) and Albarola (20%). The vineyards that produce this wine are situated on south-facing slopes in the hamlet of Volastra in the town of Riomaggiore, the heart of the breathtaking Cinque Terre region. In this instance, Lugano opts to leave this cuvée on the lees for an extended period of time, respecting the old traditions of the region. The result is a full-bodied, earthy wine of immense character, almost briny, with a deeper golden tint to its color than is found in his other whites and marked by the aromas of heather, broom and juniper.
Bisson Granaccia Il Granaccio: the sole red in our portfolio from Lugano is made from the Granaccio grape, better known as Grenache. At home in this coastal Mediterranean climate, this powerful wine is produced from Lugano’s prime vineyard site “Tenute di Trigoso” on steeply-sloped hills in Sestri Levante. The wine is dense and carries the dominant flavor of ripe blackberries, an aromatically compelling hint of pine resin and an intriguing bitterness to the finish. Aged in stainless steel, “Il Granaccio” is bottled in late summer of the year following harvest.
Download Bisson Tech Sheet
Domaine NameBisson Società Agricola & C. SAS di Lugano Marta
Family/Owners NameLugano
How many years has the family owned the domaine?Since 1978
How many generations?2
How many hectares of vines are leased?14
How many hectares of vines are owned?2
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? The management of our vineyards is based on very limited treatments, pursuant to Law 1078, and we receive some subsidies for that approach. Our type of management is similar to the biodynamic method.
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).As a fertilizer, we use natural cow manure
Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse?Harvesting is done by hand using 15-kilogram crates. Defoliation was done.
Wine #1
AppellationPortofino Ciliegiolo
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Ciliegiolo
% Alcohol by volume0.12
# of bottles produced22000
Grams of Residual Sugar0-1
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouthern exposure
Soil Types(s)Neutral pH; clay and sand with gravelly skeleton
Average vine age (per vineyard)15 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000
Approximate harvest date(s)From the end of August to the end of September. This year, the climate was hot and very dry, more so than in previous years, so it was necessary to irrigate the vineyards twice as an emergency. The wines are very complex, elegant, structured, balanced, with a high mineral content and a good level of acidity.
whole cluster, % destemmed, %All bunches were destalked
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeIn steel vats (from 15 to 100 hectoliters)
Duration of contact with leesBetween 6 and 20 days
Duration of contact with yeastsThroughout the entire fermentation
Duration of contact with the skinsFor white wines and Ciliegiolo, 2-4 days at a low temperature. For red wines, 10-20 days
Select or indigenous yeast?Cultured yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationWhite wine and Ciliegiolo: crushing and destalking, pressing after 2-4 days, fermentation with cultured yeasts, no malolactic fermentation, racking. Sparkling wines: same procedure, plus malolactic fermentation. Red wines: crushing, destalking, cultured yeasts, batonnage, pressing, clarification, racking and malolactic fermentation.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In steel (10-100 hectoliter vats)
Duration of elevageWhite wines and Ciliegiolo: 3-6 months. Red wines: 1-5 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketWhite wines and Ciliegiolo: 2-4 months. Red wines: 8 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeOne single filtration with cross flow filters
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Sulphites are added, partly after the fermentation (only for wines that do not have malolactic fermentation) and before bottling. The starting quantity for bottled wines is 1.6 milligrams of sulphur dioxide per liter.
Descrivere in modo quanto più dettagliato possibile questo vino di quest’annata. Come si paragona ai vini delle annate precedenti?See the vinification paragraph
SPARKLING WINES ONLY Spumante wine is made in house. 20 grams of sugar per liter are added during the pumping over phase.
Is preparation done in-house or outsourced? 18 -30 months “sur lattes” (bottles are stacked on their sides)
What is the dosage?Classic method
VINI ROSATI:See vinification: white wines and Ciliegiolo
Wine 2
Bianchetta Portofino "u pastine”
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Bianchetta genovese
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 12.5 – 13.0%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 22,000
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1
Wine 3
Vermentino Vignerta Portofino
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Vermentino
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 13%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 6,500
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1
Wine 4
Vermentino Intrigoso Portofino
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Vermentino
% Alcohol by volume Alcohol: 13.5%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 3,300
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1
Wine 5
Colline del genovese Pigato
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Pigato
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 13 – 13.5%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 6,500
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugare: 0-1
Wine 6
Cimixia Portofino
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Cimixia
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 13.5%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 6,600
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1
Wine 7
Abissi Spumante Portofino
Cepage/UvaggioBianchetta genovese, Vermentino and Cimixia
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 12%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 28,000
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0
Wine 8
Sparkling white wine
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Glera
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 11%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 90,000
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1
Wine 9
Marea Cinque Terre – Bosco
Cepage/UvaggioVermentino and Albarola
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 12.5 – 13.0%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 4,000
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1
Wine 10
Colline del Genovesato Rosso Granaccia
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Granaccia
% Alcohol by volumeAlcohol: 13.5 – 14.0%
# of bottles producedNo. of bottles: 3,300
Grams of Residual SugarGrams of sugar: 0-1

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