Everyday: Most Gavis start off seriously floral and dry, but the La Battistina Gavi 2011 ($18) fairly assaults the palate with refreshing pear and peach flavors. Not that it’s short of the signature minerality from the cortese grape grown in Italy’s Piedmont region, but the fruit and texture are integrated in a wondrous way, from first sip to a full minute after swallowing. And then taking another sip, right quick. The fruit clearly was picked at perfect ripeness, and I can’t recall a wine tasting any “cleaner” than this one. Shellfish and soft cheeses are among the optimum pairings, but it truly rocked the other night with some lemon/parmesan-crusted chicken.
Occasion: Recently I attended a wonderful dinner at Minneapolis’ In Season restaurant featuring the wines of Le Cadeau. The Oregon winery’s five pinot noirs (from different winmakers and plots) were all showing well, with CÃ´te Est bottlings from 2004, 2007 and 2008 truly shining. But I was most enamored with the Le Cadeau Rocheaux Pinot Noir 2009 ($48). It had that mystical quality that pinot lovers craave, plus the kind of stuffing and elegance that prompted me to tell winery owner Tom Mortimer (full disclosure: he’s a friend) that I would like to buy a half-case and try one every year for 6 years to see how it evolves. It’s got cherry and earth and a bit of mushroom and cola. Try it with your favorite roast chicken recipe, or any kind of salmon preparation.