What is Cortese?

Cortese is a white grape variety from north-west Italy, which reaches its highest, most famous expression in the Piedmont denomination of Gavi.

What does Cortese taste like?  

Cortese is a crisp, dry white wine whose hallmark lemony, bright freshness is a popular match with seafood from the nearby Ligurian coast. If yields are too high, it can taste rather neutral. Some examples are oaked, although this approach can easily overpower Cortese’s essentially delicate flavour. The grape’s high acidity also lends itself to some good quality sparkling wines. 

Where is Cortese from?  

Cortese has been recorded in Piedmont since the early 17th century, with particular prominence in the south-eastern province of Alessandria, which remains its stronghold. 

Where does Cortese grow?  

Cortese remains closely connected to its Piedmont roots, with plantings centred on the south-eastern province of Alessandria, which includes the grape’s most famous incarnation of Gavi. Cortese is also found in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy, notably Oltrepò Pavese, and the Veneto. The grape is very rarely found outside Italy, but small plantings exist in Australia and California. 

Famous Cortese regions:  

Gavi, Piedmont, Italy   

Anything else?  

Cortese is so intimately linked with Gavi that the denomination is often referred to as Cortese di Gavi.  

Our selection of great Cortese 

  •  Castellari Bergaglio, Gavi, Pledmont 
  • La Mesma, Gavi, Piedmont 

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