• Cortese with Teeth:  2017 La Ghibellina Mainin Gavi

    Cortese with Teeth: 2017 La Ghibellina Mainin Gavi

    The Gavi region 50 miles east of Piedmont is home to the Cortese grape, known for its Chablis-like minerality and also, regrettably, for its innocuous character from industrial-like production. Now, there's nothing wrong with wines that bring pleasure from their more refreshing and gulpable traits. However, I had yet to have an aha moment with Gavi where my eyes lit up from an experience that transmitted terroir with a dynamic, vivid personality. That changed in a big way when introduced to La Ghibellina. And no surprise, their 5,000-case production Gavi was chock-full of that singular sense of place that's the crux of everything I demand.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2017 La Ghibellina Mainin Gavi for $23 per bottle.

    The couple behind the estate, Alberto and Marina Ghibellina, came from very different backgrounds. Alberto was a water polo player who medaled at the Olympics, and Marina was a student of art history who still restores antique furniture. Their passion for wine and Marina's family's roots in the region landed them at this property, first producing wine from the 2000 vintage. From the start they have been fortunate to work with the celebrated Piedmont enologist, Beppe Caviola.

    The 20 hectares of vines sit on a bedrock of limestone tucked in between the Po River Valley and the Ligurian Apennines mountain range. The three elements playing a vital role in showcasing a griping element of salinity that's rare for Cortese. At its best Gavi shows a racy mineral side, but the scrupulous approach by Alberto and Marina delivers something much more spirited. Cortese's white flower and citrus here finish with terrific crushed rock and oyster shell notes. This exuberant disposition is no doubt an amplified version of what's the norm in Gavi.

    While DOCG status was awarded in 1998, the region has not seen a deep-rooted connection to the more terroir-driven focus that we've seen elsewhere nearby. Price points may be less that what's common in Piedmont and Liguria, but it's so exciting to see La Ghibellina understand there's a bold interpretation of place to communicate when approached with conviction.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen