I find it hard to drink red wine in this hot and sticky weather we are having at present. I used to drink beer on days like these but I’ve since weened myself off the amber liquid and onto white and rose wines. While its difficult to replace beer as a thirst-quencher (and I still have a beer every now and then), white wine goes much better with food I find, especially summer foods such as fish, salads and antipasti.
So I got home tonight and cracked open a bottle of this wine from the famous village of Gavi in Piedmont, Italy. I tried the wine for the first time ages ago and was impressed enough to make a mental note to buy some. As is usual with mental notes I forgot all about it for about 5 years and then stumbled across it in my local branch of Majestic a few weeks ago.
More famous for all the B’s – Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera – Piedmont is a region in the north-west of Italy around the city of Turin. Gavi is between Turin and Genoa and both cities have exerted their influence on the commune (municipality) since Roman times when it was an outpost of the Western Roman Empire. Granted DOCG status in 1998, the wines made here are predominantly from the Cortese grape, records for which date as far back as 1659 and is also planted in neighbouring regions such as Lombardy and Verona. The grape is renowned for its hardiness to grape diseases as well as its ability to produce high crop yields and quality wine. The wine is much-prized by the restaurants of Genoa as it is a perfect match for Ligurian seafood dishes – in fact the Genoese and French Savoys fought over the area for centuries and influences from both can be seen in the cultivation of grapes and production of wine even today.
This wine changes a lot in character along with change in temperature. Freshly out of the fridge it is floral in bouquet and has that nice, clear, crisp citrus fruit acidity that is tangy on the palate. Once it warms up the bouquet becomes a lot more aromatic and pungent while grapefruit comes to the fore in taste. The alcohol level (13%) is a lot more noticeable as it warms up too. I would recommend drinking it at between 8-10 degrees celsius – any colder the true charms of the wine are masked by temperature, any warmer it becomes cloudy, less delicate in flavour and too one-dimensional.
Ideal food partners are white fish and seafood, pasta in creamy, modest sauces and certain types of soft cheese such as dolcelatte. It is also good as an aperitif or served with antipasti.
If you’re tired of drinking the usual suspect grape varieties and want to try something a little bit different without taking too much of a risk, this wine is well worth a gamble. Its also very reasonably priced at £ 6.99 at Majestic.
I must admit that there are about two dozen other whites I would buy before this wine if they were all available/affordable but for sheer education, variety and pleasant surprise factor I give this wine 80 out of 100.