Pronounced as kor-tay-zay
Cortese pronounced as kor-tay-zay is a white grape variety most famously associated with the crisp, lime-scented wines of the region of Gavi. The variety is known for its acidity and ability to retain freshness even when grown in warm environments.
The Cortese grape, “corteis” in Piedmont dialect, is a native white grape variety grown in Piedmont and mainly found south of Alessandria, but produces the best wines in the area of Gavi, a small village southeast of Alessandria, where it is bottled as Gavi.
Cortese wines are light, citrusy white wines that go well with seafood. These wines also occasionally have herbal notes and a distinct, elegant aftertaste. It is a wine similar to the popular Portugal wine, Vinho Verde.
Cortese Tasting Notes
Cortese wines have a vivid and refreshing taste with delicate aromas of citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit, green apple, melon, pear, and peach with nutty notes of roasted almond, and a mineral edge that offers the wine a creamy texture.
Most Cortese wines are zesty and floral, similar to Pinot Grigio and the most fruit-forward notes of apple, peach, lime, and honeydew also bring out light herbal or grassy aromas.
Cortese wines can range from styles of light and refreshing to rich and layered, making it a very dynamic grape that can be enjoyed in different formats.
The Cortese grape can produce wines of excellent and fine quality, characterized by elegance and balance, and this is true not only for fresh and young wines but also for those that are aged in bottles for further depth and complexity.
In the last few years, the Cortese grape has proved to stand aging and produce interesting sparkling wines as well, mainly using the Charmat method.
Cortese di Gavi, or simply Gavi, is an Italian dry white wine produced in a restricted area of the Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, close to the Ligurian border.
This wine was awarded DOC status in 1974 and elevated to DOCG in 1998.
When To Drink Cortese
Cortese is an excellent wine to pair with foods inspired by Northern Italian coastal cuisine including fragrant pesto pasta and seafood dishes with basil and lemon. It is a great wine to bring out on date nights or for special occasions for a fancy overall meal pairing.
Best Years To Drink Cortese
Most Cortese wines should be drunk young and fresh, but a lot of the better quality wines need to be aged for two or three years to reach their best flavor profile.
Cortese Average Prices
Because of its reputation and location within Piedmont, many Cortese di Gavi wines are highly priced but not all of them are actually complex and fine wines of exceptional quality.
Fun Facts About Cortese
- There are around 2,950 hectares of the variety planted in Italy.