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Cortese di Gavi DOCG - the fine whites of Piemonte

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

When you say Piemonte people tend to immediately think of Barolo. But the region has so many things that are not red. The crispy whites of Gavi, floral and frizzante Moscato's, sparklings from Canelli, and then there are quite unknown whites like Roero, or even many great reds other than Barolo. Like Barbera, Barbaresco, Ruche, Grignolino and so on. I'll take you to all of these, but let me tell you my story step by step. Starting from my first day in Piedmont wine region. In Gavi DOCG.

vineyard view in La Mesma winery in Gavi DOCG wine region in Novi Ligure, Piemonte
... and you fall in love from the first sight, with the rain, with the colour, and of course with Cortese

Saying that my way there wasn't easy is saying nothing. My 'piemontese' adventures proved that it's possible to travel to all the inconveniently positioned wineries without driving. So wine lovers without driving license - don't be satisfied with wine bars in Piemonte! There are so many unique wineries that are quite accessible by bus :) You can do your Piedmont Wine Tour using public transport only!

It won't makes sense for me to add here all the timetables and routes getting to Piemonte wine region from Milan Bergamo airport. If you need those - ping me in comments or in a message, and you'll get them right away. Below, we'll be focusing on white wines from Gavi.



Gavi DOCG Region


A hilly area made of 11 municipalities south of Alessandria and only one and only variety - Cortese. But how many versions of it you'll find! Cortese, the wine grape used for Gavi wine, is a very neutral variety, thus the climate, type of soil, sun exposure and vinification techniques are highly influential when it comes to the wine aromas and taste.


The Guyot training system is very popular here, and although we're talking about Italy, it's a quite chilly area. Reaching optimal ripeness isn't a struggle, but not an easily achieved target either. From October to April rainy clouds block the sky and you don't walk around without your rain boots.


Cortese is a very neutral variety, thus the climate, type of soil, sun exposure and vinification techniques are highly influential when it comes to the wine aromas and taste.

Short facts:

  • Despite the dominance of rains throughout the year, September is usually dry and sunny, so grapes can fully mature.

  • Diurnal temperatures influence the final stage of grape ripening, which intensifies the typical Gavi DOCG aromas and adds signature acidity to the wine.

  • Gavi DOCG is made of 100% Cortese.

  • Wines of Gavi can be of 5 types - fermo (still), frizzande (fizzy), spumante (sparkling), riserva (reserve) and spumante riserva (sparkling reserve).

  • Soils are either clay with lots of iron and noticeable red colour, or 'white' calcareous soils.


blooming tree and vineyard view in La Mesma winery in Gavi DOCG wine region in Novi Ligure, Piemonte


Gavi wine characteristics: