Gavi is a tiny comune located on the eastern edge of Piemonte in northwest Italy. The Piemonte area produces some of the world's best reds, from big, age-worthy barolos to light and luscious dolcettos, but Gavi's cortese grape makes the region's signature white. Its popularity soared in the 1960s, then as competition from other regions in Italy increased, it fell out of favor. That's a shame because, at its best, cortese produces a delicious wine with food friendly acidity. Here are three that are worth your attention.
2012 Batasiolo Gavi, $15.99
Like most Piemonte estates, Batasiolo is best known for its red wines, but it also produces a little chardonnay, as well as this cortese from Gavi. The aromas are soft and subtle, tending toward honeydew melon and sweet clover. That melon carries over to the palate, where it's joined by ripe Asian pear, vanilla and spice. A nice hit of crisp citrus adds balance to the finish.
2012 Broglia Gavi, La Meirana, $24
This wine's richly perfumed aromas include blood orange, sweet Meyer lemon, quinine, fig and sage. The flavors are as intriguing, blending mango, tangerine, lime, mineral and a touch of almond on the lengthy finish. The La Meirana estate, which was acquired by the Broglia family in 1972, is inextricably linked to the region, with a document as far back as 971 AD identifying Gavi vineyards and giving reference to Meirana.
2012 Cà da Meo Gavi, $12.99
Cà da Meo is a district in the heart of Gavi, and this wine, produced by Tenuta di Magda Pedrini, benefits from the estate's thin, infertile soils that limit yields while producing higher quality grapes. The result is a mix of unctuous stone fruit and racy lime on the nose, along with touches of almond and mineral. The flavors are round and ripe, offering creamy peach that's nicely balanced by crisp citrus. This wine is an exceptional bargain.