Gavi, or Cortese di Gavi is one of Piedmont's premier white wines and was elevated to DOCG status in 1998. The wine is produced from 100% Cortese grapes grown in extensive vineyards around the town of Gavi in the rugged hills of far southern Piedmont near the Ligurian border. A full 3,600 acres are under vine and these produce a shade over one million cases per year. While the vast majority of Cortese is bottled as a table wine, a handful of producers bottle a spumante version made in a full Methode Champenoise style.

While it is true that Piedmont is noted primarily for its great red wines, Gavi can be an excellent white. Cortese tends to have a full impression in the mouth and the Italians tend to liken it to Chardonnay. Indeed, some are made in an international style with barrel aging and malolactic fermentation. More traditional unoaked styles are preferred locally, particularly in the restaurants of Genoa, where Gavi is coveted as a traditional accompaniment to the rich local seafood. (Wine/Appellations)