In 1979, John and Harry Mariani, owners of Banfi Vintners, established the the Principessa Gavia estate. Just a few kilometers from the town of Strevi in Italy’s Piedmont region, this vineyard estate is dedicated exclusively to the cultivation of the Cortese di Gavi grape, the sole white grape used to make Principessa Gavia Gavi and the light frizzante Principessa Perlante.
The name Principessa Gavia comes from a historical tale: a princess named Gavia fell in love with a handsome man who served as a guard in her father's court. The couple sought the king's permission to marry, but he refused to have his daughter wed out of her class. Desperate, the young couple fled to a distant part of the kingdom and settled in a sleepy village on the other side of the alps.
They eluded the king's troops until one night, after enjoying a generous amount of a local white wine, the groom confided their story to the local innkeeper. The innkeeper nodded and feigned sympathy, but sent word to the king and collected a handsome reward. Troops found the couple and brought them back to the king to face punishment.
The King looked into his daughter's eyes and could not help but forgive her. He blessed their union, and as a wedding gift, bequeathed them the town which they had chosen to settle in. In her honor he gave the name Gavi to the town as well as the charming white wine they drank.
Learn More About Other White Wine
Other White Wine
While there are a slew of other white varietals out there in the world, a few more worth knowing about...
Mostly grown and drunk in the northwest part of Spain,
Rias Baixas (in Galacia),
this grape is loved by almost
all who try it. A great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and every other white grape, Albarino is
aromatically intense, like Sauvignon Blanc, but with a creamy texture on the palate. The flavors and aromas
of an Albarino range from peach to lime to vanilla to honeysuckle. The crisp finish on wines from this grape
makes it perfect for just about any seafood.
Grown mainly in the Rueda
district of Spain, Verdejo is also found in Australia. The grape is herbaceous and
fairly aromatic. It's also grown in Portugal where it's called Verdelho.
Once a too-often planted in Germany,
Muller-Thurgau is known for making wines of so-so character. A crossing
between Riesling and Sylvaner, this grape makes a lot of wine and most of it quaffable at best. Decent wines
of Muller-Thurgau are aromatic with a tinge of sweetness.
The most-planted white grape in the world. Odd, because most have never heard of it, but this white grape
covers the plains in Spain and with its acreage of vine, it wins the contest. Wines of the grape are pleasant
and the grape is often used to make blending wines.
Grown mainly in the region of the same name (within the Loire), Muscadet produces very easy drinking, light-bodied
wine with mineral notes and high acidity – often recommended to pair with oysters.
Learn More About Piedmont, Italy
Piedmont is located in the Northwest area of Italy, hugging the Mediterranean coast. The regional capital, Turin, is situated smack in the middle of the province. Being close to the alps, the area enjoys a high altitude, with the best vineyards benefiting from the hills and elevation. Known for its famous sub-districts, Piedmont delivers some of the most distinctive, high-quality, ageable wine of Italy. Most popular are the DOCG districts Barolo and Barbaresco, producing Nebbiolo-based wine of the same name. Two other DOCGs of note are Gattinara and Gheme – both make wine from Nebbiolo and are typically earlier to drink but more rustic than their Barolo and Barberesco partners. City-districts in the DOC category include Alba and Asti, where wine like Dolcetto d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti is made, putting the grape name before the town.
Not just regulated to red wine, Piedmont also produces some notable whites, particularly those near the district of Gavi and Asti. Gavi produces still white wine from the Cortese grape. The wine is dry with a crisp, citrus-like acidity – fairly neutral but pleasant. Arneis is another grape/wine made in the area, creating a fuller wine that displays some nuttiness in the aroma and taste. Asti is well known for its sparkling wine – in particular Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante is typically higher in alcohol, sweetness & fizziness, while its higher-class cousin, Mostcato d'Asti, contains lower alcohol levels, a few less bubbles, and a more restrained and delicate representation of Moscato fruit.