After a few delays due to the insane weather we've been having, May's Heritage Club wines are finally in. We are once again back to Italy, and I couldn't personally be happier. We have two wines ranging on opposite ends of the spectrum: a light, zippy Cortese from Piemonte and a rich, heady Primitivo from Puglia.
Cortese is a native grape to Piedmonte and yields a light, very crisp white wine. It is principally found in the area surrounding the village of Gavi, and there are three levels typically produced: Cortese di Gavi (DOC), Gavi (DOCG), and Gavi di Gavi (DOCG). Gavi di Gavi must be directly from the village of Gavi, but there is minimal difference in the production or quality between Gavi and Gavi di Gavi.
Araldica's La Luciana Gavi 2016 is an excellent, single-vineyard example of this grape. Made from 100% Cortese, the wine was aged in stainless steel to preserve the fresh, fruity nose to balance out the sharp yet refreshing natural acidity of the grape. Since this region of Piemonte is close to Liguria (bordering the Mediterranean), typical pairings would include frutta di mare and pesto. There is nothing quite so exquisite as fresh, homemade pasta and pesto with a glass of this beautiful wine. Or, let Chef Alex take care of the cooking.
Our second wine is about as far from Cortese as you can get, both stylistically and geographically. Primitivo, the Italian Zinfandel, is a very typical grape in the Southeast region of Puglia (the heel of the Italian Boot), and this example is as rich as they come.
Puglia is essentially one small peninsula jutting off the southern tip of Italy. The complete surrounding Mediterranean has a very warming effect on the climate here, so you find a wide range of juicy, rich red wines. One of the most popular ones is Primitivo. It is common to find Primitivo from here made with a considerable amount of new oak, as the wine can stand up to it, yet there is nothing uncommon about their flavor.