At the first light of the morning, I am in my room in the B&B Il Poggio di Gavi to reflect. Thanks to Gavi Protection Consortium, I spent a wonderful day full of ideas around the cellars of Gavi. This reflection on Piedmontese white wines and, more specifically, on the Gavi DOCG and its aging potential. Let's start from the beginning: Gavi DOCG, in case you don't know it, is a White wine made from grapes courteous and produced around the municipality of Gavi, in the province of Alessandria. The Gavi is also called White Barolo, to underline its value. In my opinion, a very inappropriate term as Gavi DOCG can live a life of its own serenely.
From what emerged comparing both with the Brand Ambassador of the Gavi Consortium Sara Repetto, both with producers, there is a "problem" of request for new vintages that does not allow this white wine with extraordinary potential for bottle aging to express themselves. For this reason today I would like to turn to wine bars, restaurants and others orHo.Re.Ca. operators to make an argument together. Finally I would like to give a little advice to all wine lovers, maybe many already do it (or have another "method"), but I'm sure someone will be useful. First of all, thank you (in order of tasting) to Roberto of Ghio wines, Roberto of Broglia wines, Andrea of La Zerba, Andrea and Nora by Marchese Luca Spinola e Paola, Francesca and Anna from La Mesma for making me live three magnificent tasting experiences and inspired this article.
Piedmontese white wines: structure, warmth, fatness, longevity
If I think of the great Piedmontese white wines, the Gavi DOCG, Timorasso DOC, Langhe Bianco DOC andErbaluce di Caluso DOCG, although lately, thanks to the splendid promotion work carried out by the association dedicated to wine tourism Go Wine, I also think of certain wines made from Muscat grapes and vinified dry like these e this. Despite being wines made from different grape varieties, it even comes to mind Ellis 2008 by Gabriele Scaglione, a Langhe Bianco DOC elaborated from chardonnay and arneis, they all have in common an important structure, a nice fatness and a longevity to which in Italy "we are not used" for white wines.
Among all Gavi DOCG, for me, is the one with the most potential for evolution in the bottle and with an average higher and constant quality within the denomination. Yet, comparing myself with the producers on this trip to Gavi, I realized that ...
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Piedmontese white wines: why do people keep asking for Gavi from the harvest just passed?
After a series of tastings and a discussion with the producers, a worrying fact emerged: Gavi cannot be put aside because not only final customers, but also sector operators sometimes ask for it even before it is ready.
At this point I feel like opening a parenthesis for both of these figures, so different yet so close. I understand very well that for a restaurant or a wine shop, putting away wine is not at all easy. Beyond the practical aspect of managing a warehouse, there is always the burden of fixed capital. My suggestion, which I have already seen done in Tuscany, is for you producers: propose to your customers restaurants and wine shops to keep the bottles aside for them, obviously capitalizing on this service. The more your Gavi DOCGs refine in your cellars, which are perfect for storing wine, the more they acquire value and consequently increase in price. Your customers do not have to have a dedicated space and end customers are guaranteed to drink a wine that has been well preserved. Restaurants and wine shops can thus offer wines from old vintages to their passionate customers making an excellent impression and you can promote them by reserving them a space complete with a plaque in your cellar, which is also good for you. Obviously mine is just an idea… though you have such extraordinary Gavi DOCGs that they MUST be valued, if not so in other ways.
Now a tip for end customers that applies not only to Piedmontese white wines!
I have probably already written it, but now I also want to give advice to my passionate readers who buy wine, in particular to the most "hardened" sommeliers and winelovers. For each label you buy, always make a carton of 6 bottles to be kept strictly in the dark and laid down to ensure that the cork is always moist, swollen and there is a limited passage of oxygen. Open one immediately, at the time of purchase, and then one a year to hear its evolution. In this way, from the first drink you will have 5 years of bottle and a small, but important, history of that label. I know that it is not easy to wait and often one is tempted by mixed cartoons (I understand you too well! 😄), but this method gives much more satisfaction especially to those who are able to read the differences. And who is not able to calm down: this is how you learn!
And now, before a final consideration, I present to you the Gavi DOCGs that stole my heart and inspired this article!
Gavi DOCG “Vecchia Annata” 2010, Broglia
It has a bright and consistent golden yellow. The nose is spectacular, with notes of camphor, raw chocolate, salted caramel, brioche bread, puffed rice. In the mouth it is savory, fresh, the most balanced of all the tastings with the finest pseudocaloric. Very soft and with a nice freshness. Long finish of melted butter. It still has many years in the bottle in front of it.
Gavi DOCG “Dràc” 2001, Ghio
The second taste of an “aged” Gavi DOCG is from Roberto Ghio, who really managed to thrill me. I had already written the tasting of his rosé sparkling wine "Cane and barley" in the recipe for stretched breadsticks, but with this 2001 he literally won me over. We had lunch at his Osteria Piemontemare, a really delicious restaurant in Gavi with a sommelier with an important and beautiful name, Porzia (Roman noblewoman, wife of Brutus ... do you know I have a little fish that is called exactly that?).
It has a bright golden yellow with amber and consistent reflections. The nose is literally moving: intense, with a light oxidation, and very elegant. Notes of butter, rum, macadamia nuts, milk chocolate fade into a light hint of brine and compounds of Amadori della carne. In the mouth it is a spectacle, fine, elegant, long and very soft. Incredibly, given that he is already 20 years old, he has not yet reached the end of his aging potential.
Gavi DOCG “Terra Rossa” 2006, La Zerba
At La Zerba you will find Andrea walking on that blood-red earth that betrays a clay rich in iron and asks his wines for even more time to express themselves, on pain of too pronounced pseudocaloricity. Wines that, if you know how to wait, surprise like this 2006.
It has an intense straw yellow with golden and consistent reflections. Extraordinary nose, intense and elegant with those evolved notes that the cortese acquires with a few years on his shoulders. The bouquet is broad, with hints of fresh date, white chocolate and custard. In the mouth it is soft, fresh, savory, consistent and with a good balance. Long finish of fresh date. This Gavi DOCG can also be refined in the bottle for a long time.
Gavi DOCG “Tenuta Massimiliana” 2007, Marquis Luca Spinola
We made a vertical of three vintages of this label: 2019, 2017 and 2007. In an extraordinary vineyard, decorated with paper flowers and exquisite scones, I found Nora and Andrea, two wonderful, intelligent people, full of good taste and good ideas.
It has a bright, intense and consistent golden yellow. The nose is broad, very fragrant, elegant and mature with honeyed, balsamic, salt, butter and sage notes, raw chocolate, walnut, amaretto. In the mouth it is coherent, elegant, fine and with an excellent balance. Long honey finish. This Gavi DOCG also has a long aging potential in the bottle.
Gavi DOCG Riserva “Vigna della Rovere Verde” 2011, La Mesma
A winery born from the passion of three beautiful sisters, complementary in their studies and gifted by nature. Every detail is studied with extreme care and the cellar, built with love, preparation and effort, is wonderful. Here I am talking about two bottles because my wine blog is called Perlage Suite and the dated classic method sparkling wine I just couldn't omit it!
Sparkling wine 2009 (10 years of yeasts, 2 years from disgorgement)
It has a bright straw yellow color with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is extraordinary with notes of butter, white chocolate, custard, hazelnuts and pink pepper. In the mouth it is silky, fresh, savory, structured, coherent and elegant. Very long butter finish.
Gavi DOCG Riserva 2011
It has a bright and intense straw yellow with golden reflections. Intense nose, with notes of butter, pastry, brown sugar and violet. Taste of zabaglione, fresh, savory, very soft and with a nice length in the mouth.
Gavi wine and Piedmontese white wines… a consideration on Gavi DOCG and its communication
A consortium, and I'm not just talking about Consortium of Gavi, is made up of many players involved in the business realities and therefore also conflicting needs. For this reason, finding a balance between the needs of a medium-small or very small cellar and a large or very large cellar is often not easy at all.
I therefore understand that for this reason communicative solutions are sought, at times innovative, therefore capable of bringing the Gavi DOCG to conquer a new audience: it is normal, healthy and fair. In each consortium there are large wineries that produce quantities and medium-small wineries that produce quality. On the one hand, therefore, it is necessary to expand the public, and the wine is distorted to offer it at a low price. On the other hand, it is necessary to increase the perceived value of the wine and align it with the real value so that it is not necessary to sell off the product and fabulous goodies are created between one young bottle and another. Gavi DOCG, for me, is a wine that is sold too young and this can only irreparably lower the price. Moreover, the demand, both from the final consumer and from Ho.Re.Ca. it needs to be educated and until you understand the "right" target of that new audience you are looking for it will be difficult to reach a compromise.
If I can afford it (and if I can't "allow myself" anyway) we need an awareness on the part of the larger wineries to assist in the consumer re-education process. I am sure that the Gavi Consortium already knows it is necessary. Fortunately, everyone really has to gain from this process, including the great wineries that today offer a young Gavi for a few euros. Giving time to Gavi DOCG certainly requires an immediate sacrifice of storage and risk, but I believe that the courteous, indeed the courteous in this terroir, is so "magical" that it requires a much lower effort than what it can give, and this to all qualitative levels.
To do this, however, we must understand that Gavi DOCG cannot be proposed as a mixology wine: I know, I know that Champagne is also blended. But Champagne can, Gavi still can't. Gavi DOCG is not such a strong brand and offering it as a cocktail only lowers its perceived value. Why, let's face it clearly: I know that it is a wine that can age for a long time and I am sure that many other colleagues of mine, sommeliers and enthusiasts, know it too. However, it remains one of the Piedmontese white wines (and not a Burgundy chardonnay) and the brand is not yet strong enough to afford such blunders. The Gavi DOCG is still in time to go back and reset its communication, catch the ball before another Prosecco phenomenon is created. After the name is "disgusted" there is no going back. And I see their faces flapped when I say that at my wedding I "said yes" to a Prosecco DOCG Metodo Classico 2010 (HERE you can find the 6 wines I have chosen for my wedding) and not a Trento DOC or a Franciacorta DOCG.
Gavi DOCG does not mix, it is expected. Like all important things.
This for me is the only message that has to pass.
PS Remember to combine it with seared duck breast, foie gras, truffles, blue cheeses, smoked sturgeon or carpaccio and oysters!
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