Gavi: The posh girl’s Pinot Grigio

John Wilson: Gavi shares certain similarities with inexpensive Pinot Grigio from the Veneto, but it is superior in most cases

“Posh girl’s Pinot Grigio” is how an English wine buyer once described Gavi to me. Gavi, or Gavi di Gavi, is a light refreshing crisp dry white wine from Piemonte in northwestern Italy. The wine comes from vineyards close to a medieval city of the same name. Gavi, or Cortese di Gavi, can come from any of the surrounding 13 communes; Gavi di Gavi only from the vineyards around the city of Gavi. The grape is cortese, a variety found only in this part of Italy.

In a way, my English friend was right. Gavi does share certain similarities with inexpensive Pinot Grigio from the Veneto, but it is superior in most cases. Typically it has floral aromas, plenty of crisp acidity and fresh pear and apple fruits and sometimes hints of almond. It makes a great summertime aperitif, but I find the mouth-watering citrus and minerals show best with all sorts of seafood, including grilled plaice or sole with lemon, shellfish risotto, spaghetti with clams, goat’s cheese salads, or sushi. The Italians are very fond of lighter dry white wines with seafood salad starters and this is a classic example.

Most retailers will offer at least one Gavi, including the multiples. I previously featured the very decent Lidl Gavi (€9.49), which is still available, and I can also recommend Aldi’s Specially Selected Gavi (€9.49) and the Riva Leone from Dunnes Stores (€14). As well as the La Battistina Gavi featured here, O’Briens has the very good Ascheri Gavi di Gavi for €20.95.

Tesco’s Finest Gavi 2021

12.5%, €12 (€10 with Clubcard)

A richer style of Gavi with plump peach fruits that sit nicely with the refreshing acidity. Drink it by itself, with asparagus risotto, or mussels with spaghetti. From: Tesco


Gavi la Battistina 2022

12.5%, €17.95

Perfect summer drinking. Fresh and engaging with toothsome green apples and citrus peel. For drinking in the garden, or with spaghetti carbonara. From: O’Briens

Gavi di Gavi 2021 Jordano Lombardo

13%, €25

A lovely floral nose, refined chalky minerals with lemon zest and light nectarines. Try it with seafood risotto or spaghetti alle vongole. From: Sheridan’s Cheesemongers;; Greenman Wines, D6; Strandfield House, Dundalk; Eleven Deli, Greystones; Lennox Street Grocer, D8; MacCurtain Wine Cellar, Cork; Grapevine, Dalkey.

La Giustiniana ‘Montessora’ Gavi di Gavi 2021

13.5%, €30.95

A more serious Gavi with layers of stone fruits, mouth-watering minerals and almonds. Would be good with seafood risotto, prawn dishes or grilled sole. From: 64wine, Glasthule;