Gavi di Gavi Serragrilli
The Gavi, or Cortese di Gavi, DOCG is situated in the southern part of Piedmont, in north-western Italy. Its name derives from the town of Gavi, which is at the centre of the production zone, and the indigenous white grape variety from which it is made. Due to its close proximity with Liguria, its winemaking and gastronomic traditions are more Ligurian than Piemontese, which could explain the light and fruity style of this white wine.
Despite being more closely linked in style with its neighbouring region’s wines, Gavi is still considered Piedmont’s white jewel in the crown. It gained DOCG status in 1998 and its vineyards are mainly found in the hills of 13 communes in the province of Alessandria (of which the most prominent are Gavi, Novi Ligure, Serravalle Scrivia and Arquata Scrivia).
Gavi was Italy’s first white wine to gain international repute and is still considered one of the top-ranking Italian whites today. Made exclusively from the Cortese grape, a variety which has a heritage dating back to the 1600s, this is a wine that reflects its terroir. It is noted for its bone-dry character and crisp, flinty and fresh acidity, coming from the mineral-rich soils of the area. The bouquet is particularly floral, offering delicate aromas reminiscent of white flowers, lemons, green apples and honeydew. It is a well-balanced wine, distinctly fruit driven with underlying hints of almonds on the finish. It may not display great potential alcohol but it is certainly an age-worthy wine. A foaming spumante version is also made and some producers’ wines will undergo barrel maturation. Gavi is generally considered an excellent partner to seafood.
Those wines that state Gavi di Gavi on their label can do so only if their fruit comes from vineyards in the township of Gavi.
Since the end of the nineteenth century the land of Collina Serragrilli has been farmed by four generations of the same family. From the days when grapes were sold in vats, and wine in bulk in barrels loaded onto ox-drawn carts, the business has been passed down from father to son. Today it is run with integrity and enterprise by the latest generation of the Lequio family with the help of their husbands and in-laws, whose background is also in wine. Grandfather and great-grandfather were noted local vignerons who left behind vineyards of the highest quality, and the winery remains at the forefront of winegrowing in the area.
All the vinification and storage procedures take place on the ground floor in order to facilitate operations. The winery is fitted out with the finest in winemaking equipment, and is fully temperature controlled. By choice, no use is ever made of concentration or reverse osmosis, which could affect the wines’ properties and taste. In the area given over to storage there are small and medium-sized barrels. The red wines mostly age in barriques (holding 225 litres), tonneaux (500 litres) and 1000-litre casks, all strictly made of French Allier oak. Larger 20 and 25-hectolitre casks made of Slavonian and Allier oak are used for the aging of the traditional-style Barbaresco, while the “Serragrilli” cru matures in barriques and tonneaux. Finally, there is the so-called “barricaia”, or barrique cellar, which is to be found underground where the Lequio family used to produce wine a century ago. Here the humidity and temperature are ideal not only for storing the wine, but also for preserving the wood of the barriques and tonneaux, ensuring that no gaps appear between the staves and result in the loss of wine. The barriques have a lifespan of only 4 years, after which they are replaced. This makes the ageing process extremely costly, but the results are truly exceptional.