Managed by the Valditerra and Migliardonico families, Château de Novi lies on the outskirts of the city of Novi Ligure, in Piemonte, from which it derives its name. It is principally known for its racy, scented white Gavi wines, which have won many awards around the world.
Gavi is one of the few Italian white wines entitled to D.O.C.G. or garantita status. It achieved this distinction rather recently, since before World War II the wine was rarely seen outside Piemonte. While several famous producers collectively contributed to the wine’s fame, it was Gavi’s overall reputation as a serious Italian white wine, and its development on the export market, that led to its eventual high quality ranking. Gavi, or, alternately, Cortese di Gavi, is made from the Cortese grape grown in eleven delimited townships between the cities of Alessandria and Genoa, where soils are predominantly chalk-marl and the vineyards face southwest. The fortress of Gavi, built in the 10th century on a hilltop overlooking the vineyards, is a perfect place to appreciate the beautiful landscape that marks the boundary between Piemonte and Liguria.
The Valditerra and Migliardonico families decided to produce Gavi at a relatively undeveloped plot of land outside Novi Ligure. Since the existing land was too small for their intended size, a lake was dug out and terraces were created to accommodate the vines. This had the twin effect of allowing greater production, and also a microclimate afforded by the new lake. Cortese grapes are grown on the terraces, and at harvest time they are brought to an ultra-modern winery where fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Besides Gavi, the estate also grows a red Piemonte Barbera D.O.C. and a Monferrato rosso D.O.C.
Gavi can occasionally be light and a bit neutral, depending on the producer and the vintage. Château de Novi is neither; it is quite consistent from year to year, and keeps the characteristic melony flavor of the Cortese grape while balancing it out with crisp acidity and good length.