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Mainìn, Altius

CORTESE

First cited in a letter written by the steward to the Marchese Doria in 1659, the cortese – known as “corteis” in dialect – is an autochthonous vine with white grapes that is mainly grown in the Southern part of the province of Alessandria, from Ovada to the Tortonan Hills, and in particular in the area of Gavi, where there is a great tradition for this vine and the highest quality is reached.

In 1870 Demaria and Leardi, who were the first scholars to study it scientifically, described the Cortese as a robust vine which is fecund and made precious by the “goodness and the exquisiteness of its produce”, that “loves a sunny south facing disposition, [...] and that prospers both in calcareous, clayey and mixed soils”. Moreover the studies made by Louis Oudard, the oenologist of the Count Cavour in Grinzane, showed the great potential of the cortese as a grape that could be used for the production of sparkling wines.

The fortunes of the cortese, given these premises, soon took off and by 1876 the Marchese Cambiaso, followed soon by the Raggo, Serra, Sertorio and Spinola families all decided to establish the first specialised vineyards on their estates in Gavi. From that moment the cultivation expanded rapidly also due to a further impulse in the early years of the Twentieth Century when numerous vineyards were replanted following the devastation of the Phylloxera. 

The cortese has shown over the years to be an excellent quality wine, which is elegant and well-balanced. Not only as a fresh young wine is it pleasing, but it is also very good after prolonged ageing in the bottle, in some cases even for a decade or more, which enriches the wine with further character and complexity.

In 1974 “Gavi” or “Cortese di Gavi”, made from purely cortese grapes, became a DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) wine and in 1998 was given the higher grade of DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).



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Sandrino, Nero del Montone

BARBERA

Before the event of the widespread cultivation of cortese at the end of the nineteenth century, the area of Gavi was mainly planted with red vines, in particular Barbera and Dolcetto.

Barbera is an autochthonous wine of Piedmont with a grand tradition that probably originates in Monferrato. The first documents that report the name are from the XVI Century, but it is probable that the so-called “Grisa” grape, cited as early as 1304 by Pier de’ Crescenzi in his Liber Ruralium Commodorum (the most famous treatise on agronomy of the Middle Ages), actually refers to Barbera, which is said to be “grigia” (grey) since in the last stages of maturation it is covered with pruina (or epicuticular wax) and thus assumes a metallic hue.

Particularly widespread in the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo, the Barbera vine produces extremely elegant wines, that are capable of combining a remarkable complexity of bouquet (from vinous and fruity aromas to the more ethereal and spicy one in the versions that have been aged in the wood) with an excellent structure, taste and persistence. All this in a context of incomparable pleasure thanks to a good level of acidity of the vine, that gives the wine its characteristic freshness.

In the area of Gavi, which has already been given greater recognition through the granting of the DOCG classification for the Cortese, the Barbera is classified with the Denominazione di Origine Controllata “Monferrato”, that comprises other areas of the Province of Alessandria and Asti and provides the production of wines from pure Barbera grapes both red and “chiaretti” (rosé wines with a characteristic cherry colour).