Stefano Massone Gavi Masera 2010
Stefano Massone is devoted solely to white winemaking, with vineyards located in the warmer southeastern part of the region in Gavi, where the Cortese grape achieves maximum ripeness. As this varietal tends to be very productive, rigorous vineyard management and low yields are vital to producing Cortese of high quality, as practiced at Massone but at few other estates. Some even compare fine Gavi to white Burgundy, citing the mineral character of the wines.
Among Piedmont’s most historical and respected white wine producing zones, Gavi—also known as Gavi di Gavi and Cortese di Gavi—comes from Piedmont's southeast, in the province of Alessandria. Gavi is the main town of the area; Cortese is the grape. Cortese for Gavi is grown in any of 11 communes in the area where the soils are abundant in chalky, white, limestone-rich clay. The best Gavi from these locations are delicately floral, with stone fruit and citrus characters and a crisp, mineral-laden finish.
While typically made in a fresh and unoaked style, by law Gavi can come in many forms: frizzante, spumante, metodo classico and méthode ancestrale. But most producers maintain a conventional winemaking practice of temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel and make fresh, still whites. However, there are several barrique-aged examples, which can be interesting. The biodynamic wines of Gavi, fermented with ambient yeasts can be the most expressive.
First recorded in the early 17th century in the province of Alessandria in SE Piedmont, Cortese today is most highly regarded from Gavi where soils are limestone-rich. It also grows well in the surrounding zones, namely Monferrato and Colli Tortonesi. Somm Secret—Because of its freshness and chalky minerality, this white wine commonly populates the fish restaurants’ wine lists of the Ligurian coast so practically owes more allegiance to this neighboring region than its home.