Piedmont is one of Italy’s most famous wine regions.
It is the home of some of the country’s most important grapes, including the spectacular Barbera and the wonderful Dolcetto. However, the region is also home to several stunning white grape varieties, many of which don’t get the credit that they deserve.
Cortese is one of them.
This grape is almost exclusively grown in the south-eastern regions of Piedmont, essentially making it a native grape to the region. However, small clusters of it can be found in Lombardy, with some producers also using it as part of their wine blends in Veneto. The grape also has an extensive history, with records showing that it has been used since at least 1659. Offering moderate acidity and several light flavours, the grape is ideal for crafting simple and elegant Italian wines that are perfect for the upcoming summer months.
The grape is also particularly resistant to many of the diseases that can devastate less hardy grapes. This has led to yields growing over the years without sacrificing quality.
And quality is the perfect word for the product we’re going to examine in today’s review.
Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2020 may be one of the best examples of an Italian white wine made solely using the Cortese grape. But before we dig into what makes this wine so wonderful, we’d like to explore the company behind it.
The History of Villa Sparina
Family and history are the two words that best define Villa Sparina.
The company is an entirely family-run operation, which guarantees the quality of its wines as the people behind them pour every ounce of their passion into their products. The history comes from the winery’s location in Gavi, which is a Piedmont district that has been established in the winemaking industry for over 1,000 years. Long before Villa Sparina existed, its lands were being used by other producers to grow the Cortese grape that it has since become so famous for utilising.
The Moccagatta family are the people behind this wonderful estate.
They’re also ambitious winemakers.
Not content with solely crafting spectacular wines, the family has done everything they can to make their estate the place to be for wine tourists. Beyond its vineyards and cellars, the family also hosts a restaurant named La Gallina, which has earned a Michelin Star for the quality of its food, which is no doubt buoyed by the superb wines that the family creates. The family also operates Ostelliere, which is a boutique hotel that is ideal for the wine tourist who wants to get away from it all. Both the restaurant and hotel are located on the same grounds as the winery, allowing visitors to get an all-in-one taste of the beauty of Gavi.
But let’s switch our focus back to the winemaking operation.
The family founded their company in 1974 when Mario and Bruna Moccagatta purchased the estate. They quickly set about working to make the wines produced in their vineyards as good as they possibly could, allowing them to establish a reputation as one of the best at working with the ancient Cortese grape.
Today, the company owns 100 hectares of land, with 60 of those being dedicated to its vineyards. Surrounded by wooded areas, these vineyards still enjoy good sun exposure and are visited by winds generated over the Ligurian sea, which do their part to help Villa Sparina’s wines achieve their unique flavours. The company dedicates the vast majority of its vineyards to the production of Cortese, though it reserves about four hectares to cultivate another famous Piedmont grape, Dolcetto.
The company is now overseen by the combined forces of Tiziana, Stefano, and Massimo Moccagatta, who were the ones that saw the potential for the hotel and restaurant that have only added to the wonderful allure of the company’s winery. Together, the siblings run the family business with both the passion of their parents and the expertise that can only come from a lifetime spent tending the vines and living in an area that is renowned for wine production.
Truly, this is a family enterprise that is operated with love and respect for the vine. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2020, which is one of the best wines to emerge from the company for quite some time.
A gorgeous and crisp Italian white wine, Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2020 immediately makes its mark with a lovely dry taste. Best served at between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius, the wine can be stored for between five and 10 years before it starts to lose its quality.
Upon pouring, you will notice a straw yellow colouring that indicates Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2020 is a young wine that can benefit from some extra time in the bottle. That isn’t to say you will have a bad experience if you choose to drink it as soon as you buy it. The opposite is true, as the wine is still remarkable even if you open it up immediately upon getting it home.
After pouring, allow the wine’s delicate bouquet to explore your nostrils. A fresh scent of peach dominates the aroma, though this is tempered somewhat by subtle notes of flowers and other fruits. If nothing else, the bouquet reveals that you can expect the wine to offer a fresh and refreshing experience.
The first taste confirms these expectations.
The care given to the grapes is evident as the wine has a fresh and rich flavour, giving it a fullness that many struggle to achieve with the Cortese grape. Soft on the palate, this is an easy drink for those who are not experienced with Italian wine, making it perfect for serving to large groups of people with different tastes. The fine aromatic finish also tempts you back in for another sip, making this a wine that lives long in the memory.
Best served with cheese or seafood, this gorgeous wine receives an 89/100 rating from the Xtrawine team. Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2020 is available in our collection today for less than €13.
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