Thursday, January 17, 2008

On to Piemonte

Yesterday's Wine Blogging Wednesday theme of white wines from the
Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine region reminded me of another Italian white wine I've been meaning to try: Gavi. Gavi is made from Cortese, a white grape grown almost exclusively in the Gavi DOCG
(for a good definition on Italian applellations see Dr. Deb's Italian wine post) in the Piemonte region, located across the top of the country from Friuli (see map.)

Piemonte is famous for its bold, strong reds like Barolo and Barbaresco. Most of the climate of Piemonte is continental, which means it lacks marine influence and is characterized by more extreme temperatures. However, the white wine area of Gavi located so close to the Mediterranean Liguria region which makes it more temperate. This area produces white wines that are acidic or minerally in contrast to the tannic and high alcohol level of the reds.

The Gavi I picked up was the 2005 Banfi Principessa Perlante for $12.99 at my local BevMo. The "perlante" refers to the fizzy nature of this version of Gavi, also know as frizzante. I could not find out how the bubbles are produced in this wine, but the Banfi site says the wine has a "natural effervescence." The bubbles remind me of Vinho Verde, where they are caused as a secondary malolactic fermentation. The bubbles in a frizzante wine are created by a different process than a sparkling wine, thus the different classification.

The wine also reminds me of a Vinho Verde in flavor. The aroma and flavor of yeast is very similar to dry sparkling wines I've had. There is more mouth feel than a distinct flavor for me. I was surprised that the Banfi site described the wine as "fruit-forward" because I couldn't detect any, even though I drank my glass over an hour period. There was a light after taste that lingered pleasantly. I drank the Gavi by itself last night, but I think it would have gone well with fried chicken; a favorite way of mine to drink Vinho Verde. The Banfi Gavi cost twice what I've paid for most Vinho Verdes I've tried,
so it wasn't a deal at all.

Banfi makes another Gavi that is not fizzy called the "Principessa Gavia" which I'd like to try. According to Vino Italiano, one of the good producers of Gavi is Broglia whose wine is supposed to have "more apple and peach flavors." Another version I'd like to try is one made by Villa Sparina whose Gavis are supposed to be more "rich and extracted." Fortunately, there is a bottle of each at my local store, so I'll be trying these out and sharing my take in a future post.

I enjoyed the Banfi Gavi and look forward to trying some other examples. However, if they don't turn out much better, I'll stick with the Portugese Vinho Verde as it's a better deal! If you've tried a Gavi, especially one of the wine mentioned today, please leave your comments. How would you compare Gavi and Vinho Verde?

Tasting Notes:

Color: Golden yellow, lots of bubbles!

Aroma: Yeast, straw (reminds me of Champagne or Vinho verde)

Taste: Yeast and minerals, more of a mouth feel than a flavor
Finish: Light, dry aftertaste that lingers

1 comment:

Dr. Debs said...

I never thought of that similarity between the Gavi wines and VV but you are absolutely right. I've also found that the have similar bottle variability. Some of the VV have no spritz when I get them, some a lot. Some of the Gavi taste like prosecco, others more fruity like VV. I tend to drink this before dinner, when I want something but don't want to crack into the dinner wine quite yet. Give the regular Principessa Gavia a try--that will be a little more like the VV

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