la scolca black label gavi dei gavi

 

Spending this winter in Liguria in NW Italy has been joyous for the ongoing experience of the local aperitivo. Social strictures that COVID places on us here mean that dining out in the evening is not an option. Bars and restaurants cease service at 6 pm sharp. 

Thus we order wine by the glass from the list and await the series of small courses of food that accompany. I have been duly noting down the memorable taste sensations in order to attempt recreating them at home and that resurfaced on the eve of the La Scolca tasting evening.

Gavi has in previous years suffered as a consequence of its own success, much like its northerly cousin, Soave. With rampant sales in key markets, planting of the main grape variety, Cortese, expanded and thus watery wines emerged detracting from the quality and reputation of producers such as La Scolca.

LA SCOLCA & CORTESE DI GAVI

The Cortese grapes grow in limestone-rich soils, in an area that straddles both the southern edge of Piemonte and Liguria, where the temperate Mediterranean climate exerts influence. The Cortese grapes themselves are known to be fussy and not to ripen evenly.

All of this is especially interesting when we consider the considerable heights of quality and huge versatility in flavour and style that presented themselves with the wines tasted.

GAVI DOCG LA SCOLCA 2018

la scolca gavi

The first wine, the Scolca Gavi, had a bright citrus nose and tasted similarly citrus with fresh and crisp acidity. The finish was long and clean. This was the simplest in style of them all. A very pleasing seafood wine, especially with smoked salmon and goats cheese, or my favourite pasta dish, linguine vongole.

GAVI DEI GAVI® LA SCOLCA BLACK LABEL 2019

polenta gorgonzola aperitivo

Gavi Dei Gavi®Black Label was granted a trademark on account of its location in the heart of the commune of Gavi and the Black Label became a recognisable symbol of quality. It is famous for being a benchmark by which to measure all others.

The Black Label has impressive structure and energy wrapped in soft ripe tropical flavours, with traces of walnut on the finish.

This is a star of a wine. We recreated the aperitivo course of fried polenta with gorgonzola sauce. Wow, they literally embraced each other on the palette and left indelible imprints upon my memory. 

GAVI DEI GAVI® LA SCOLCA D’ANTAN® 2007

Gavi La Scolca D'Antan

This was unexpected to say the least. Not all white wines age this well. Obviously, we know that Chardonnay can go the distance. In Portugal, in November 2019 I discovered the ageing potential of Encruzado in the under-appreciated Dao region. Now it is time for Cortese to pour forth from the bottle.

 

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And while we are at it, what a bottle! Elegantly shaped resembling an (electric blue) Champagne Laurent Perrier, but with the slenderest of necks. Of course, in this time of sustainability when bottle weight is a very hot topic, this bottle does feel more like one created for pressured bubbles than a still wine.

 

Aged for around 10 years in steel tanks using indigenous yeast, the end result is a combination of preservation and development of character that captures the essence of what this often under-appreciated DOCG can show us.

The wine itself is an unassuming pale yellow and the ritual of bringing the glass to the nostril is rewarded plentifully. There is opulence and class to this aged wine that marks it out as special. It has layers of popcorn, nuttiness and exotic fruit aromas.

La Scolca D’Antan is rich to taste; all of the aromas transform into flavours to continue the experience. This is a fabulous demonstration of aged white wine that keeps revealing itself. We taste the artistry in D’Antan, it is an unforgettable wine, bravo.

Cheek to cheek: Piemonte and Liguria

liguria landscape riviera

Here in Liguria, with Piemonte on the doorstep, every meal is a mental and physical celebration that takes place in serene moments. Masks are suspended, glasses upended, with the next celebration, reliably, only a few hours of digestion away. These expressions of Gavi are now part of the experiential landscape.

Available from: https://greatwinesdirect.co.uk/la-scolca [UK] - worldwide look on Wine Searcher

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As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.

 

 

Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!

 

Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.

 

Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.

 

The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.

 

Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch. 

 

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