We recently tasted a half dozen Italian whites from an impeccable supplier and settled on four new types for the store. The one we bought the most of was the Gavi and it was the most expensive in the array. While we have sold a lot of Gavis in the past, this one was special. Hell, this one was remarkable.
Gavi has been called the finest white wine of Italy. This one is light and dry, fruity and floral, and chalky and minerally. You get where we're going here: This is complex white wine that none the less fits into a light body format. Nice trick if you can pull it off.
When we say this wine is special we should qualify our enthusiasm with a little historical perspective. When we got into this business forty years ago there was a lot of bad Italian wine on store shelves. We didn't know how bad it was at the time because we were ignorant. In fairness to Italy, there was a lot of bad wine from everywhere else also. Suppliers, both domestic and importers, knew the American market was not wine-savvy and our public could be sold on lower quality. We didn't know the difference. Just make your pitch convincing and we'll bite.
As we became more sophisticated taste-wise, SURPRISE, quality improved. Transportation and warehousing improved first followed by winery technological improvements and some of the most profound of those improvements originated in Italy. With internationally flowing investment money coinciding with the production, transportation and storage improvements; we now have the quality we were promised from the start.
The textbook might say a Gavi is a light straw (with green hues) color. It has a fruity appley-nuanced nose and a taste that is fresh, dry and full-flavored while still elegantly light. The Cortese di Gavi production region has been making this wine style for the past hundred fifty years. Modern Italian winemaking, courtesy of technology, is now able to make this wine more structured and complex than ever before.