15 Sep Please The Palate Wine of the Week: La Raia 2018 Gavi Riserva DOCG Vigna Madonnina, Piemonte, Italy
Piemonte, Italy is famous for its red wines but one region in Piemonte produces primarily white wine. Gavi DOCG is a white wine produced in the Alto Monferrato in the southern part of the province of Alessandria in Piemonte in the north of Italy. This past week, I had the pleasure to spend two days at the beautiful Locanda La Raia located in the town of Novi Ligure, next to the town of Gavi, and enjoyed their Gavi wines with lunch, for aperitivi, and with dinner. I enjoyed all three of the Gavi wines, Gavi 2020 DOCG, Gavi Pisé 2017, and especially the 2018 Gavi Riserva, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Gavi DOCG is made exclusively with the Cortese grape and must come from the town of Gavi and surrounding villages. The wine takes its name from the town of Gavi, and you likely have heard of Gavi di Gavi (which is fun to say). But, Gavi di Gavi is not better than any other Gavi wine from surrounding villages. What is most important is the Gavi DOCG status.
La Raia is a biodynamic winery established by the Rossi-Cairo family in 2003. They have 48.5 hectares planted on a total of 180 hectares. 40 of the hectares are planted to Cortese, with the balance planted to Barbera.
La Raia produces three Gavi DOCG expressions – Gavi DOCG, Gavi Riserva Vigna Madonnina DOCG, and Gavi Pisé DOCG.
La Raia Gavi DOCG is a blend of grapes from across the estate which are fermented in stainless steel and bottled for a fresh, crisp, high acid wine with floral and stone fruit notes. La Raia Gavi Pisé is a vineyard selection of some of the best fruit which is fermented in neutral oak, followed by a year in oak and then an additional year-and-a-half on the lees in stainless steel. The wine is rich with a deep nose with notes of red apple, baked apple spices, honey, and lemon and has a long, textured finish.
The Gavi Riserva sits in between these two other wines in style. Sourced from a vineyard designate, yields are lower. The grapes are handpicked when they are ripe with a golden yellow coloring, destemmed, and delicately pressed before being fermented in stainless steel. After fermentation, the wine spends a year-and-a-half on the lees in stainless steel, followed by an additional six months in bottle.
La Raia is one of a few wineries making Gavi Riserva. The result is a straw yellow color with bright and complex aromas of apple, crisp pear, lime pith, and honey. On the palate, the wine is fresh and elegant with a lovely mouthfeel and a savory finish.
While the Gavi DOCG is delicious on its own or for aperitivi, the La Raia 2018 Gavi Riserva is perfect for food, ranging from shellfish, fish, white meat, risotto, and fresh or soft cheeses.
I enjoyed it with Battuta di manzo al coltello, ricotta, pomodorini marinati e salsa di acciughe, which is a tartare of Fassona Piemontese with ricotta, marinated cherry tomatoes, and anchovy sauce.
And I enjoyed the wine with Trancio di pescato del giorno, con succo di peperone arrosto e funghi, Ombrina, a Mediterranean fish, with a roasted vegetable puree and mushrooms.
I had the pleasure to enjoy the 2018 La Raia Gavi Riserva in Italy, but the current vintage in the US is 2017. I definite plan to seek out the 2017 when I am home to see how an extra year of age enhances the wine.