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5th August 2022 by Rachel Wallhouse
I was lucky enough to be invited to a whirlwind 24 hours in Gavi with Produttori del Gavi. Joined by 8 other wine enthusiasts from across the country, all working in independent wine shops, we were flown over to sample their wines and explore the vineyards. Produttori del Gavi overlooks the historic Gavi fortress and they’ve been making fantastic wines for over 65 years. Made exclusively from Cortese grapes which are made in a dry style and are known for their lemon-like citrus flavours and tingly acidity. But before we explore their wines further let’s dive a little deeper into the history of winemaking in Gavi…
Gavi lies in North West Italy within the province of Alessandria in Piedmont (and just a short hour’s drive from Milan airport). It was given the highest ranking of DOCG in 1998 due to its exceptional production of white wines using the Cortese grapes which are now one of the most famous and appreciated Italian white wines.
When you pick up a bottle of Gavi off the shelf you might notice the difference in how the wine is titled… Gavi & Gavi di Gavi. So what’s the difference? It’s all down to location.
A Gavi di Gavi wine indicates that the vineyards from which the grapes come from are located within the borders of the town of Gavi itself. Gavi wines are made from grapes grown within the appellation area but outside the town of Gavi.
Enter Produttori del Gavi… they own over 220 hectares spread over 11 municipalities that are part of the Terre Del Gavi (see image). The 95 farmers forming this cooperative boast the biggest vineyard holding of Gavi DOCG and also own a number of organically certified vineyards. Situated just 40 kilometres from the Ligurian Sea (if the wind was blowing in the right direction you could actually smell the ocean breeze!) a territory that is uniquely characterised by calcareous white soils; ideal for growing the native Cortese grape.
What really sets these wines apart is the microclimate of the area, where the sea wind that blows from the Ligurian Sea meets the Apennines. The sea offers good ventilation and permits a long ripening period, encouraging the grapes to take on colour and aromas. They receive a lot of snow in winter, followed by nourishing rain in spring. The summer months are characterised by long, warm sunshine days (we visited mid June and temperatures reached 35 degrees!) followed by cool evenings – this diurnal range is vital in creating balanced Gavi wines, with concentration of flavours and crisp acidity.
Now you’re a Gavi expert… let’s get tasting!
Produttori del Gavi Il Forte, Gavi DOCG, Piedmont, Italy, £11.99
Viticulture: 30 year old vines at 200 to 300 metres sit in predominantly red clay based alluvial soils.
Winemaking: Refined on the lees for 3 months (which are used in white and sparkling wines to add textures and flavours) in stainless steel and refined in the bottle for a month.
Tasting note: Straw yellow, with a classic green tint. Hints of acacia flowers, pear, passion fruit and pineapple. The mouth feel is sapid, long, fresh and elegant. Lightweight and good acidity. This wine is wonderfully versatile.
Produttori del Gavi, Mille951, Gavi DOCG del Comune di Gavi, Piedmont, Italy £13.99
Viticulture: Limestone soil at 250 to 300 metres. The vines here are around 40 years old.
Winemaking: Refined in steel tanks for at least 3 months on the fine lees and a further 1-2 months in bottle.
Tasting note: On the nose this is an aromatic wine with pear standing out as well as peach, and apricot. Fresh and easy to drink with subtle almond flavours. Harmonious and balanced, with a good weight and flavour intensity, as well as fresh acidity that sings throughout and for an impressive time after. This is what Gavi is all about!
Produttori del Gavi, Biologico, Gavi DOCG del Comune di Gavi, Piedmont, Italy, £15.99
Viticulture: Produced on white limestone soils at around 25 to 300 metres above sea level on a Southern exposure. The average age of the vines is around 50 years old.
Winemaking: Refined in stainless steel tanks for 5 months on the fine lees before bottling and a further 1 month refinement in bottle.
Tasting note: This 100% certified organic Gavi has a pale straw yellow colour with greenish shades. Its aroma reveals peach notes, banana and pear. Fine and persistent. Good acidity. The mouthfeel is fresh, structured and soft.