Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Discover Gavi trade masterclass

A rare, if not once in a lifetime, opportunity to attend a masterclass organized in London by The Drinks Business and entirely devoted to one of the most underappreciated varieties of Italy. Patrick Schmitt MW, just back from the region, led us through a tasting of 10 of the best Gavi wines, made exclusively with cortese grapes. This is the highlights of what I learned today.

Gavi vineyards lie in south-eastern Piedmont, near Liguria, which explains why even in a landlocked region there is some influence of the sea climate, which is reflected in viticulture by adding a touch of freshness and delicate taste that is often associated to coastal vineyards. All of this land is cultivated with cortese vines, which constitutes some 60% of all the cortese planted in Italy.

Some dates and numbers: the first indication of viticulture in the region dates back to the year 972 AD. Some 500 families work on Gavi wines in 190 companies which are part of the Consorzio (cooperative) founded in 1993. 1600 hectares of cortese planted and produce about 13 million bottles and 65 million euros of revenue, 85% of which comes from exports. The UK is its first export market. DOC certification dates back to 1974 and DOCG to 1998.

I left the tasting amazed at how Gavi wines, which I always considered easy and light bottles to be drunk young, can deliver excellent quality, complexity and especially aging potential. Buy some and put them away before too many people discover them and prices rise!

Prices are indicative merchant prices in the UK.

La Meirana
Gavi del Comune di Gavi, 2022 
Round, long and moderately complex, 100% steel.
£15, score 90

Ghio Roberto Vigneti Piemontemare
Vigna Pian Lazzarino, Gavi del Comune di Gavi, 2022
Smooth, evolved.
£10, score 91

La Smilla
Gavi del Comune di Gavi, 2022
Oaked 5 to 10 months, 25yo vines.
£ 15, score 92

Massone Stefano
Gavi del Comune di Gavi, 2022
Almost tropical fruit, peach, smooth end with gentle bitterness.
£ 15, score 92

Produttori del Gavi
Gavi del Comune di Gavi, 2022
Steel. Citrussy, very fresh, slight pleasant bitterness at the end.
£ 15, score 88

Tenuta San Lorenzo
Gavi, 2022
No oak, good balance and length.
£ 15, score 88

Alborina Gavi del Comune di Tassarolo, 2021
Good balance and intensity, long and complex.
£ 15, score 93

Vigna Madonnina, Gavi Riserva, 2020
Balanced and complex.
£ 25, score 93

Gavi del Comune di Gavi, 2018
Slightly honeyed, recalls Chablis style. Evolved, ready now.
£ 25, score 93

Il Mandorlo, Gavi del Comune di Tassarolo, 2016
Long, complex and balanced with toasted notes. Ready with some aging potential The best wine of the day.
£ 25, score 94

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