Gavi (also known as Cortese di Gavi) is a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) as of 1998. Gavi produces a fresh, vibrant style white wine from exclusively the Cortese grape varietal in northern Italy. The varietal is primary grown in the province of Alessandria in Piedmont, close to the Ligurian border. The indigenous vines of Cortese grown within the commune of Gavi, can also be labeled Gavi di Gavi.
The wines designated name derives from Gavi a small town situated at the centre of its production area, located about 100 km southeast of Turin. Cortese, the local grape varietal is thought to have relationship with the region since the 17th century - and the current style of wine is believed to date back to 1876.

 

Wines made from Cortese (particularly those from the DOCG Gavi) have long been favoured by restaurants in the southern neighbouring port town of Genoa - as the wine pairs well with the local seafood caught off the Ligurian coast. The wine's lively acidity and light, crisp flavours compliment the delicate flavours of several fish dishes. Cortese wines tend to be medium bodied with notes of limes and green apples and crisp pears. In vintages that are particularly cool, the wines can be bright and lean but winemaking techniques such as malolactic fermentation and fermentation in oak barrels can soften.
Cortese is widely cultivated in the Alessandria province of Piedmont where it is prized for its hardiness to grape diseases and ability to produce large crop yields as well as high quality wine. There are significant plantings of the grape throughout southeastern Piedmont including the DOP wine producing areas of Colli Tortonesi and Cortese dell'Alto Monferrato located a few miles to the west of Gavi and of Monferrato Casalese Cortese which extends to the Basso Monferrato north of the Tanaro.
Despite this close proximity; Cortese has a significantly more difficult time fully ripening in Tortona and Monferrato than in Gavi. Gavi is best enjoyed young - it is usually at its peaks between 1-3 years and ideally pairs with seafood cuisine during the heat of summer.