Stefano Massone’s superbly crafted Gavis never disappoint, which comes as no surprise to those of us who have had the pleasure of his wines for nearly a quarter of a century. With that said, Massone’s 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi del Comune di Gavi is truly exceptional. The 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi embodies all of Cortese’s finest attributes: charm, elegance, finesse, superb texture, and laser-like precision. It offers an eye-catching straw-colored robe and a delicate perfume resplendent with the scents of acacia blossoms, ripe mountain apples, and freshly squeezed grapes along with a dash of citrus zest. In the mouth, the 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi comes across as both soft and refreshing with impeccable mouthfeel, texture, and balance to complement the wine’s juicy pristine fruit and laser-like precision. By eschewing the use of oak barrel ageing in favor of highlighting Gavi’s natural attributes, the 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi reveals Cortese’s delicate charms, ethereal perfume, subtle complex flavors, and crisp mineral-driven finish. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest giving the delightful 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi a moderate chill (about 40°-45° F) before allowing it to evolve slowly in the glass to reveal its precise, nuanced flavors. Enjoy this exceptional Gavi now and over the next several years. Anticipated maturity: 2021-2024. Salute!
Given the supreme elegance, purity, and texture of the 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi del Comune di Gavi, a clean glass and an ample supply of this wine may be all that are required for pure pleasure, which makes this Gavi an ideal choice to serve as an aperitif. Although often served as the prelude to a sumptuous meal, why relegate the ripe, energetic 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi di Gavi to a single role? Well-prepared seafood and poultry dishes in the company of the 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi di Gavi promise an incomparable dining experience. Sautéed Sea Scallops, prepared in a cream sauce with unsalted pistachio nuts and Mediterranean herbs, is one of our favorite dishes to serve with this Gavi. Pan Seared Red Snapper, Stuffed Flounder, and Sautéed Grouper provide delicious accompaniments to this wine as well. A simple Pasta Primavera, a delicately prepared Chicken Francese, and Alsatian-style quiches offer more choice companions to pair with Stefano Massone’s exceptional 2020 La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi. In addition, soft cow’s milk cheeses pair nicely with the 2020 Lugarara Gavi, as the Cortese grape possesses a true affinity for many of the world’s finest cheeses. Enjoy!
“Culture…Poetry and the Will of Man”
La Giustiniana is a very old property that lies among the foothills of the Italian Alps. As early as 990 AD Benedictine monks praised La Giustiniana’s location for the cultivation of the vine. Today, La Giustiniana is in private hands and remains one of Gavi’s finest estates. Although small quantities of red and sparkling wines are produced at La Giustiniana, it is the estate’s single vineyard Gavis such as Lugarara (this month’s feature) that garner international acclaim.
Stefano Massone, one of Gavi’s most prominent winemakers, oversees the production of La Giustiniana’s Lugarara Gavi, and is part owner of La Giustiniana. He has also crafted a model estate of his own in Gavi, and consistently from year to year Massone’s Gavis, including his La Giustiniana Lugarara Gavi del Comune di Gavi, rank among the most enjoyable and sought after white wines in all Piemonte (Piedmont). In addition to fashioning La Giustiniana’s Lugarara, Massone works 50 hectares of vineyards from which he fashions two other exceptional Gavis from single vineyards: Vignetti Masera and San Cristoforo Gavi di Gavi. La Giustiniana Lugarara is grown entirely within the commune of Gavi, hence the designation Gavi del Comune di Gavi. Lugarara enjoys extended maturation on its lees, which accounts for the wine’s exceptional aroma, flavor, and texture.
Stefano Massone is a rarity in Piedmont: he makes only white wine from one single grape varietal. He is a master with the delicate Cortese varietal and, for Stefano, there are no compromises. Quality is paramount and his Gavis are farmed sustainably with minimal intervention. Furthermore, yields are kept very low to assure ripeness and sulfite usage is at a minimum. All of this care allows Massone himself to ferment Lugarara’s delicate golden clusters of Cortese di Gavi to perfection in his modern winery.
Gavi has been likened to white Burgundy, but the comparison does neither wine justice. At their best, Gavi and white Burgundy possess ripe, beautiful fruit, a clean mineral quality, and ideal balance, but Gavi will always remain a more delicate wine than white Burgundy. The Cortese varietal, from which authentic Gavi is born, coupled with the soil, climate, and ultimate terroir of the Gavi zone, render a decidedly different wine from white Burgundy. Gavi will almost always be the lighter, drier, more ethereal wine, but none the less for the difference. True Gavi provides superb balance, delicate fruit, and vibrant acidity, which makes it ideal to drink as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to seafood and poultry.
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