Gavi is in the middle of the Lemme Valley, named after the mountain stream that runs through it. For several millennia, this valley has been one of the most important through-routes in northwestern Italy, with wine surely running through as an exemplary connecting thread. It was used as a trade route for comings and goings between the sea at Genoa and the hinterland. Today, the Lemme Valley is a frontier area between Liguria and the Po Valley, as can be seen in the many dialects spoken (Lombard, Genoese, and Piedmontese).
Here, hills alternate with valleys, and the line of the Ligurian Apennines is always there as a backdrop: a striking spectacle staged by nature, of a thousand colors shading into each other. Gavi achieved DOC status in 1974 and was elevated to DOCG in 1998.
|Grape varieties:||cortese 100%|
|Delimited zone:||11 designated municipalities in the province of Alessandria.|
|Type:||Tranquillo (still); Frizzante (semi-sparkling); Spumante (sparkling); Riserva; and Riserva Spumante Metodo Classico (Reserve sparkling classic method).|
|Aging requirements:||Riserva must be aged for one year; Riserva Spumante Metodo Classico requires two years’ aging, including at least 18 months’ fermentation in bottle.|
|Actual alcohol level of wine:||10.5% minimum (11% for both Riserva types).|
Found predominantly between the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, from the Alto Monferrato to the Colli Tortonesi, with a layer in the area of Casale Monferrato as well, Cortese is a bountiful variety that flexibly adapts to soils with diverse blends on sunny hillside slopes. If positioned in the finest of environmental conditions, it can be an extraordinary grape producer that must be restrained with attentive care to its cultivation to avoid overabundance. Its mid-to-large, cone-shaped bunches of grapes vary from green to yellow in color, with pinkish hues halfway through September, and offer delicate, pleasurable wines like Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato, those of Colli Tortonesi or Monferrato Casalese, and Piemonte Cortese, which is found in frizzante and sparkling (Spumante) versions. But its crowning glory is Gavi, an elegant DOCG wine with a fine flavor, produced by Cortese grapes on the sunny, ideal hillsides of 11 towns around Gavi, between Novi Ligure and the region’s border with Liguria.