Gavi is one of the many Italian appelations famed for a wine few others make.
The constituent Cortese is certainly not a high street or supermarket-recognised grape, nor is it one of any recognised big five, big ten or big twenty, as far as I know.
It is, however, relatively well-represented outside of Italy in the form of the aforementioned Gavi. You’ll tend to see one of these (though not this particular bottle) in most well-stocked wine sections, so there’s obviously something about the style that has mass appeal.
That its single-grape ingredient is also known by about eleven other terms is perhaps the reason the appellation is more recognisable the the grape:
“Bianca Fernanda, Corteis, Cortese Bianca, Cortese Bianco, Cortese d’Asti, Cortese dell’Astigliano, Courteis, Cortesi, Courteisa, Fernanda Bianca, and Raverusto” are all synonyms for Cortese, according to Wikipedia. The list is either an inventive vandal’s work, or evidence of a perplexingly complex approach to the naming of grapes.
As with the last Italian white wine I tried, I found this refreshingly acidic and citrusy in flavour, with little more than a hint of crushed apple in its faint, slightly perfumey scent.
It wasn’t as bitter as the verdicchio, but ultimately it had a similarly palate-cleansing quality which would be an ideal accompaniment to lighter dishes, and probably any fish that didn’t taste (or smell) excessively fishy. It wasn’t exciting: maybe Gavi isn’t exciting? I’d like to try an exciting Gavi. If there is one…
The label is beautiful, though, and I’d probably have bought it for that alone if the wine list of the restaurant (La Lupa, The Quay, Poole – great Italian food, very friendly staff) had pictures, which I gather - unfortunately for the shallow ones amongst us – isn’t the done thing. I love images of the sun, and I love patchwork quilts (and Harlequins, which are very Italian, of course), so what’s not to love? I am only sorry my phone camera was not able to faithfully represent the label in all its glory. A tool, mind you, is only as good as the workman who wields it, and I’m no photographer.
I am a Qualified Wine Critic* though, and the fact that I could find little by way of language to faithfully represent the qualities of this wine is troubling for me as much as it is for you.
Honestly, if I was pushed, I could reduce my thoughts about this wine to one word: acidic.
I kinda liked it: it went pretty well with my pizza, but I can certainly imagine some people who wouldn’t like it, or (more likely) would be indifferent to it; it was… acidic, and erm… white, and… erm… subtle. Yes. Very subtle in its delivery. Almost, almost to the detriment of its message.
You can buy it from La Lupa for a reasonable price, where it will accompany many of the dishes pretty well, what with them being Italian.
* Sort of. See here.