What’s So Special About Gavi Wines?
Often when it comes to white wines we restrict ourselves to Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; thinking that this is where our choices end. There is a multitude of new regions, grapes and wineries emerging that offer opposition to this belief, but one that is currently enjoying the limelight is Gavi, a white wine from north-west Italy. The soils from this part of the country give Gavi wines excellent minerality alongside a nutty aroma and taste. Generally, wines from this region are left unoaked, to complement their clarity and naturally high acidity.
As well as their refreshing, vibrant and distinctive taste, Gavi wines offer a level of exclusivity and story-telling to their production, being sourced from a tiny corner of Piedmont. Gavi wines are made from Cortese grapes and are famed for producing some of the first Italian white wines to receive international acclaim. A high percentage of locals are connected to the wine-making trade in some way, and despite remaining relatively off the beaten tourist track, the town is understandably proud of its roots.
There’s a special wine region that’s been awarded DOCG status (the highest Italian level) and only wines from here can be called Gavi di Gavi. Surrounding the city of Gavi, it’s where you’ll find the very best examples of the wine.
There have been comparisons made to Chablis, largely because of the associated minerality and dry purity that both wines offer. They are typically better left unoaked, and complement much of the same food beautifully, such as seafood, herby pasta sauces and vegetables. Generally speaking, however, a Gavi wine carries more body than a Chablis and a slight almond honeyed edge to their taste, which cuts through the expected citrus. There are also similar notes to French whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, however, Gavi offers a new refreshing crispness. Many critics have suggested that Gavi’s recent upswing in popularity could partially be attributed to the recent ‘fatigue’ of traditional whites, and their portrayal as ‘dated’. These views have paved the way for this exciting grape variety to spark wine lover’s intrigue and eventual appreciation.
Gavi wine is best enjoyed upon release when the fresh citrus tastes are at their peak. Some can benefit from short term cellaring and the ageing processes. Letting the wine age for around six months can offer greater complexity and additional balance, although many would maintain this is unnecessary. The cost of Gavi varies greatly, as with many white wines, although the price point tends to be slightly higher due to the concentrated area from which the grapes can be sourced. As a mid-price wine for a dinner party however it is sure to impress, and lead to sparkling dinner conversation over both the flavour profile and origins of Cortese grapes. You never know, a bottle or two could even inspire an Italian summer road trip to visit the region creating this delicious vintage.
There is a wide range of superb Gavi wines on offer, including our own La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi di Gavi 2017, Piedmont. With a light, fruity taste including notes of green apple, we guarantee that after a glass of this you won’t be thinking of your usual Pinot Grigio. Paired with a simple chicken and rice dish this wine is the perfect accompaniment to any summer dinner party, and will please even the most discerning of guests.
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