Gavi or Cortese di Gavi DOCG | Dry white wine made from 100% Cortese grapes grown in eleven townships (‘comuni’) in the south-east of Alessandria province in the Piemonte (Piedmont) region of north-west Italy. Gavi DOCG can be still, lightly sparkling (‘frizzante) or fully sparking (spumante’). It became a DOC in 1974 and was upgraded to DOCG in 1998.

Production zone | Municipalities (‘comuni’): Bosio. | Capriata d’Orba. | Carrosio. | FrancaVilla Bisio. | Gavi. | Novi Ligure. | Parodi. | Pasturana. | San Cristoforo. | Serravalle Scrivia. | Tassarolo.

Terroir | The Gavi zone has complex terroir, giving variations to Cortese’s expression. The best wines are labelled Gavi di Gavi and Gavi di Tassarolo (from the townships of either Gavi or Tassarolo respectively). The chalky soils around the town of Gavi provide Cortese with the potential to achieve a finesse and depth unattainable in other areas, especially from the Rovereto sub-zone which is known for powerful, more concentrated, intensely perfumed wines. Around Tassarolo the soil has a higher clay content making the wines of Gavi di Tassarolo richer though less mineral.

Winemaking options | Skin contact. Lees contact, lees stirring. Partial malolactic fermentation. Oak for fermentation, ageing or both.

Tasting note | ‘Appley, floral, light, refreshing, spritzy, refreshing, toasted almonds, sage,’ says Doug Wregg (Les Caves de Pyrène list, July 2011). Poor examples display marked acidity and unremarkable flavours.

With food | ‘Gavi is drunk with a variety of Ligurian sea food dishes: stuffed squid, salad of baby octopus, seafood caponata or pagello in cartoccio (sea bream steamed in parchment),’ says Doug Wregg (Les Caves de Pyrène list, July 2011).

Wineries

Certified Biodynamic | Cascina degli Ulivi. | La Raia.

Certified organic, Biodynamic practices | Castello di Tassarolo.

No certification | Magda Pedrini.

Bibliography

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.94-5.