What is the difference between Gavi and Gavi di Gavi?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Gavi and Gavi di Gavi are both white wines produced in the Piedmont region of Italy, specifically in the province of Alessandria. The main grape variety used in these wines is Cortese, known for its crisp acidity and delicate flavors. While they may sound similar, there is a subtle yet important difference between the two.

The term “Gavi” refers to the general appellation that encompasses the entire Gavi region, which includes the town of Gavi itself and the surrounding communes. Wines labeled as Gavi can be made from grapes grown in any of these areas within the designated zone. This gives winemakers the flexibility to source their grapes from various vineyards within the region, resulting in a range of styles and qualities.

On the other hand, Gavi di Gavi is a more specific designation that indicates the wine is made exclusively from grapes grown within the township of Gavi. This means that the vineyards used to produce Gavi di Gavi are located within the immediate vicinity of the town and are subject to stricter regulations. The grapes must meet certain quality standards and be cultivated in the designated area to be eligible for the Gavi di Gavi label.

By focusing solely on grapes from the Gavi township, winemakers producing Gavi di Gavi have the advantage of a more homogeneous terroir. This can result in wines that showcase a distinct character and express the unique qualities of the Gavi region. The wines tend to be more refined, elegant, and expressive, with a greater potential for complexity and aging.

It’s important to note that while Gavi di Gavi is considered a superior designation, this does not mean that all Gavi wines are of lower quality. There are many excellent Gavi wines produced from vineyards in the surrounding communes, offering different expressions of the Cortese grape and the terroir.

The difference between Gavi and Gavi di Gavi lies in the origin of the grapes used to produce the wine. Gavi di Gavi indicates that the grapes are exclusively sourced from vineyards within the township of Gavi, whereas other Gavi wines can include grapes from the surrounding communes. This distinction can result in variations in style, quality, and expression of the wine, with Gavi di Gavi often being considered a more refined and expressive option.