Sunday, 22 April 2012

Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” DOCG (2010)

Broglia’s Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is the signature wine of Broglia – one of only a few producers in Piedmont to focus almost completely on the production of white wines and indeed almost entirely on Gavi.

Founded by Bruno Broglia, Broglia’s first Gavi di Gavi was released in 1974 and today the winery is still run by the Broglia family with Paolo and Gian Piero Broglia at the helm. With 63.5 hectares under vine (the vast majority of which is turned over to the Cortese grape – the only grape permitted to be included in wines labelled Gavi di Gavi DOCG under Italian law) Broglia today produce a range of eight wines, only two of which are not Gavi.  Of those six Broglia Gavi produced, two are sparkling Gavi – unusual but excellent wines - and the other four are wines classified as Gavi made from various selections of grapes from the Broglia vineyards.

This Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is described as the signature wine of the Broglia winery and is described by Gian Piero Broglia and Bruno Broglia as the most traditionally styled Broglia Gavi. It is for this reason, they explain, that this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” carries the “La Meirana” name. “La Meirana” (the name of the Broglia vineyards and farm) has a history of producing Gavi right back to the first mention of the winemaking region of Gavi in 971AD. Documents held at the public record office in the town of Genoa on the Ligurian coast (the coast south of Piedmont), reference a vineyard and chestnut woods on the spot occupied by the Broglia “La Meirana” estate today, in reference to defining the location of the region of Gavi all those years ago.

As befits a location so steeped in local winemaking history, Broglia’s “La Merirana” vineyard benefits in the production of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” from some very old Cortese vines. These vines offer fewer grapes per harvest but more complexity of aroma and flavour. The Broglia family’s understanding of the “La Meirana” site and the Cortese grape has also been enhanced by detailed research into the characteristics of the Cortese grape, the genetic differences of different clones of the Cortese vine and research into how these factors affect the resultant Broglia range of Gavi from the Broglia “La Meirana” site. Broglia are also leading researchers when it comes to the minimal use of suplhites (preservative chemicals) in their range of Broglia Gavi.

This Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is made from 100% Cortese grapes (as is required for wines labelled “Gavi di Gavi” DOCG under Italian law). Following harvesting, which occurs on the south-facing slopes of Broglia’s “La Meirana” vineyard in the heart of the Gavi zone of production (290-300 metres above sea level), the grapes destined for this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” are fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature in order to convert the grape juice to wine. Once fermentation is complete, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is then further matured in stainless steel prior to bottling.

The bottle of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is the traditional shape for Gavi (with low-shoulders to the bottle) and an elegant cream label. An image of the Broglia “La Meirana” vineyards and winery in the Gavi zone of production is reproduced in grey. A cream foil encloses the cork of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” which is real and of seemingly good quality.
In the glass, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is clear (i.e. non faulty) and is a pale lemon hue. Consistent in colour across the glass, there is a slightly pale green tinge to this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” too, as is characteristic of the Cortese grape. The alcoholic content of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is limited – as is evidenced by the legs of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” dissipating quickly when this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is swirled in the glass – the label of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” declares an alcoholic content of 12.5% abv.

On the nose, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is clean (i.e. non-faulty) and is fairly restrained. Fresh aromas of citrus fruits overlay a slightly more rounded set of aromas that include those of white fruit such as peach. Part of the citrus fruit element to the aromas of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is lime, again another typical component of the Cortese grape and one that makes Gavi (such as this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana”) so suitable for pairing with seafood fresh from the Ligurian coast.

Once in the mouth, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is dry and smooth. A moderate weight of citrus and white fruit persists through a long palate with a touch almond also appearing into the finish. The acidity levels of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” are well in check and there is a pleasing presence of minerality that also permeates the palate of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” and adds nuance as well as interest. The finish itself is long and the overall balance of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is exemplary.

In all, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is a very well resolved wine indeed. Not only does this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” offer more nuance and subtlety than the majority of Gavi produced (which can resemble Pinot Grigio with a touch more fruit) this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” shows varietal precision in the form of lime and almond notes and an individual identity in the form of the fantastically well integrated minerality. Rarely has the Independent Wine Review come across a Gavi as good as this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana”.

In terms of price, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is towards the top end of the price range at which we see Gavi in the UK. With many examples of Gavi retailing close to £6 or £7 per bottle, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” is approximately twice the price of these wines. (Although it should also be acknowledged that few Gavis attain the level of excellence of this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana”).

Eminently drinkable with no accompanying food, this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” will nevertheless pair well with fish dishes or white fish. A traditional Ligurian pairing would see this Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” matched with fish stew (monkfish and cod with fennel and garlic) and fresh baked bread.
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Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” DOCG (2010)

Score: 91/100 – A wonderfully expressive and elegant Gavi.

Value for Money: 8/10 – A moderately expensive Gavi at £13 per bottle), but one that betters many more expensive examples.
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