Bruna's vineyards were planted in 1970 by Francesca's father, Riccardo Bruna. "Vigorous and stubborn" - Francesca's words! - Riccardo focused on Pigato despite local fashions to the contrary. It is genetically identical to Vermentino, the name they still use in Cinque Terre and the Tuscan end of Liguria, as well as the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. In Piedmont, it is Favorita; in southern France, it is Rolle.
Yet Pigato is distinctive enough to be thought of highly in its own right. The name derives from the Ligurian word pigau, referring to the small amber pighe (spots) on the grape skins. It likes to be grown near the seaside, and has a sapid salinty, as well as scrubland herb aromas. Unsurprisingly, Pigato is simply to die for with seafood.
Bruna's small plots are found in the Arroscia valley, dotted around Ranzo, Ortovero and the Garaxin hill. If you ever want to visit (and you'll be given the warmest of welcomes) it's not the easiest place to find! But this is sleepy, blissfully slow-paced rural Italy. As well as Pigato, Francesca, her husband Roberto, and her sister Annamaria, are passionate about Granaccia, a local clone of Grenache, while their Rossese is a completely different kettle of fish to those from Dolceacqua. All wines are made in very low volumes and Roberto, being a graphic designer by trade, knows a thing or two about pretty packaging.