(Lord have mercy, readers, this is my 400th post on BTYH since the launch in December, 2006!)

2006? That’s right, and I was a little hesitant to order a Gavi from ’06, which in the lifespan of most Gavi wines is ancient history. The reputation of a producer, however, often tells us a lot about a wine’s potential quality.

The cortese grape, found principally in Piedmont, is one in which reasonable people put not a huge amount of hope but which in the right hands is capable of making a clean, refreshing, spicy white wine. This example from Pio Cesare surprised me by being not only wonderfully fresh, clean and attractive, but rich and ripe with scents and flavors of lemon in all its aspects buoyed by touches of pear and green apple. Enlivened by bright acidity and a scintillating mineral element, the wine felt compulsively drinkable, so much so that our table ordered a second bottle, which proved to be even better than the first. The second bottle added more minerals to the package, some nutty and floral hints and an unexpected wash of a rooty, moss-like tea and a flavor of green plum. The current release for this wine in 2007, but there seems to be plenty of the ’06 in the market. Very Good+ and just a hair away from Excellent. This was $34 on a restaurant wine list. Suggested retail is $19. I have seen it on the Internet priced from a compelling $17 to an outlandish $25.

Imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines, Oakland, Cal.

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