Home Winners > Winners 2014 > ITALY: North-West Whites, including Gavi

Winner Details

Italy: North-West whites, including Gavi

2014 Gold: 2; Silver: 2; Bronze: 3; Commended: 4
2013 Gold: 0; Silver: 2; Bronze: 2; Commended: N/A
Must-list status: 50%
Overall SWA performance 2014 B-

In this section we had two very different dynamics at play: white flights that were close to being a must-list Gavi, and that were seen as commercially necessary and a useful trade-up from Pinot Grigio; and whites that didn’t have the magic four letter DOCG and would have to stand on their own as food wines, and probably be hand-sold.

Interestingly – and this really hasn’t always been the case – our tasters found wines that succeeded at both jobs. The non-Gavi whites were perhaps a touch more expensive than our tasters would have liked – likely to come in around the £40 mark on a list – but they were elegant, mineral and intensely food-friendly.

Meanwhile the Gavis turned up, did the job and went home again (and we mean this in a positive way), like a highly professional covers band.

‘The customers know the name [of Gavi] – it’s a bit like Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand,’ said China Tang at The Dorchester’s Julien Sahut. Again, this was meant in a positive way, though it was noticeable that there were very few wines under the £10 mark, which is an advantage that the Kiwis (just) have over it for the moment, and which the Italians might want to consider if their sales start to flag. £45 on a list for an unoaked, relatively neutral white is a pitch that might stretch the sales skills of Alan Sugar. Sorry, Sir Alan Sugar.

FOOTNOTE: includes wines from Valle d'Aosta, Lombardy, Piedmont & Ligura

From the Tasting Teams

‘If there is an Italian white on the list and it isn’t Pinot Grigio, it needs to offer something different, more personality and food-friendliness. You can’t just expect other Italian whites to sell – you have to explain why they are worth buying.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘There are some excellent wines here, wines that are subtle but still have character, wines that are subtle but with the texture to cope very well with food.’ Paolo Pivato, Wernher Restaurant Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa