IL GAVI DOCG SUL “PLYYMOUTH HERALD” (ARTICOLO DI STEPHEN BARRETT)

9/06/2015

 Many white wines are on our Wine Merchants and Supermarket shelves this summer. Many simply fit into the “dry white wine” bracket which I guess is the preferred style of most white wine drinker’s nowadays. Many of you will plump for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or maybe Chenin Blanc. These are instantly recognisable to most as they are simply ubiquitous.

I have recently visited Piemonte in North West Italy famed for its red wines, truffles and polenta! But its white wines also impress with the star of the show being Gavi. Named after the pretty town nestling in the heart of Piemonte surrounded by hills and interspaced with rivers is perfect terroir for the grape Cortese that alone makes Gavi.

Soils differ pointing to distinctive and varied vineyards sites occurring in this hilly district. Some of the soils are light red in colour depicting a smidgen of ironstone content whist other soils are definitely chalky in colour indicating limestone or even sandy soils. Both are comparatively free-draining and most suitable for grape growing especially if they can capitalise on south-west facing slopes ensuring healthy growth throughout the season. I also noticed a constant wind in the vineyards; this is also beneficial to the heath of the vine.

Cortese is a hardy grape variety when made into wine (Gavi) often showing a distinctive lime note in its youth. This changes distinctively as the wine ages a year or two. The once lime scent turns to apple even greengage often with an exotic spice thrown in for good measure, in other words the wine is developing fast, coupled with a fuller note in the palate to match. I believe this is beneficial in the wines evolution as it simply becomes unctuous. The 2014 vintage is now on offer at most outlets, but look for the 2012/13 samples to see how in one short year or two the lovely Gavi develops into a “smooth operator”

Gavi is also an undoubted match for Seafood, Shellfish and Fish, Vegetarian dishes and modern Alfresco Salads. When enjoying lunch in Gavi I really wowed to a match with Salmon Tartar and an amazing Risotto made with Carnaroli Rice and Parmesan, a speciality of the region. Our local WestCountry dishes will be more than a match for this versatile wine easily found in Supermarkets often as an “own Label” but to find the best and often with that elusive bottle age go to Charles Steevenson Wines in Tavistock with or Castang Wines in Pelynt and select from their extensive list. Restaurants are also on the button with Gavi so it’s out with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc and in the new Italian pretender.