Italian whites are some of the most underrated and undervalued wines out there. The best are food friendly wines with salinity, minerality, power, savouriness, grip and freshness. They speak of the places they're from and the people that make them, and this Cortese from Gavi in Piedmont does just that.
Cortese may sound like a well-dressed gangster from the Godfather trilogy, rather than a delicious, ancient, native Italian white wine variety that is sparsely planted and home in the Gavi DOCG region, near Alessandria in the north-east corner of Italy. There are only 3000 hectares planted globally and most are on these rolling hills of clay-based soils. Gianluigi Bergaglio owns and farms 18 hectares of these at his family’s estate, which he runs with his son Diego. They produce only Cortese (across two wines) and the whisper around the area is that his are some of the best. Gianluigi is a local professor of viticulture, and whilst he is proud of his wines, he'd rather be in the vineyard than out in the world spruiking them. We firmly believe the world’s best wines start their life in the vineyard with healthy, focused farming and moderate yields, and this is proof that it is even applicable for a humble white wine.
Cortese’s signature are light, delicate, racy, and fresh, citrus driven wines that are perfect aperitifs or wines to enjoy with oysters or seafood. They have a lean and acidic profile that has similarities to dry Riesling, though a texture and minerality that suggests Chablis. This wine from Bergaglio has light pear, green apple and lemon flavours with an almond skin and nougat savouriness through the palate. It has a long and tangy finish making it a perfect drink for the end of a long day or the start of a long meal.