Name: 2004 Villa Sparina Gavi
Region: Piedmonte, Italy
Price: $18.99 to $21.99
Legend has it that Gavi, the yellow-hued wine made from Piedmonte's native Cortese grape, is named after the Frankish golden-haired princess, Gavia, who married against her father's will and hid with her bridegroom in the hills of Piedmonte. Gavia's love ultimately won her father over, and he gave her the lands of Piedmonte to rule.
Gavi is a perfect summer wine. When made well, Gavi can be a beautiful and fresh example of the playful balance between fruit and acidity. Notes of almond, mineral, citrus, honeysuckle and pear complement each other in a bright singsong akin to summer days.
As with any wine, mass production can dilute quality. It is important not to misjudge Gavi, should you have a bad bottling; just try another producer. Gavi is one of Italy's most esteemed white wine varietals in fact, the second Italian white wine to receive DOC status.
Villa Sparina, one of Italy's foremost Gavi producers, consistently produces a delicious bottle of Gavi. Villa Sparina takes Gavi seriously and works on reducing vineyard yields in order to concentrate the individual grape flavors, hoping to produce the finest example of Cortese.
Stores: Italian Wine Merchants $18.99 (108 East 16th Street between Park Avenue South & Irving Place), Astor Wines and Spirits $19.99 (399 Lafayette at 4th Street), Wine.com $20.99 (online wine retailer), The Greene Grape $21.00 (55 Liberty Street at Nassau) Tribeca Wine Merchants, $21.99 (40 Hudson Street between Duane & Reade Streets)