If there is such thing as being in “vogue” for the grape world then this one has hit the jackpot. You’ll probably have heard of it as “Gavi” the region it comes from in North West Italy. A few years back I started to hear more people ask for it at the bar, with a sense of pride, like it was a luxury brand name. And now it seems to be on every decent wine list you can find.
So what makes this grape so loveable? I’ll have to be brutally honest here. I think there is a sense that Pinot Grigio had this massive rise to popularity and Gavi is your natural next step. Plus it has one of those names that sounds sort of pretty.
Setting that aside it can be a lovely glass of mineral freshness. Very crisp, with white peaches and hints of lemon zest with a chalky note; similar to a good Chablis. The best versions are from the smaller sub region Gavi di Gavi. Here the hillside slopes get a little more light and produce lower yields so you get a bit more intensity, and with age it gets a gentle honey’d richness.
This grape comes from the same picturesque hilly region of Piedmont which is famed for producing great Barolo red wines (see Nebbiolo grape). The foggy mornings in that region help prolong ripening seasons which allow grapes to grow with more concentration and balance.
Pinot Grigio, Arneis, Assyrtiko, Fruilano, Picpoul, Gruner Veltiner
Italy: Piedmont (Gavi), Lombardy, Veneto
Shellfish, veal, creamy pasta sauces, leek & cheese tart