When it comes down to quality imported wine for a fair price, you can’t do much better than to purchase them from the importer themselves. We have been importing the line of wines from Ernesto Picollo since the 2007 vintage, and as far as sub-$20 white wine deals go, it’s rather unfathomable to do much better than Picollo’s Gavi di Gavi Rovereto. It’s been a huge hit with customers and staff for nearly a decade!



Rovereto


The estate is located on the tiny slope of Rovereto which is within Gavi DOCG in southern Piedmont. Its proximity to the Ligurian Sea keeps things cool at night bestowing the Cortese grapes with their lively acidity levels. The vineyard faces due south and that goes a long way in getting the fruit ripe and in seamless balance.


The first written documentation about the Cortese grape came all the way back in 1659, praising its resistance to disease and for producing high quality fruit. Its ideal terroir would be in a dry, cool climate with clay soils and southern exposure – which would describe Rovereto to a T. Gianlorenzo Picollo uses all stainless steel tank for fermentation giving the wine a bright, pure expression, and the refinement, expression, and complexity of his Gavi di Gavi Rovereto will make one scratch their head and wonder, “How could this wine be this good and SO inexpensive?” It’s definitely a great wine to accompany most dishes that you would normally pair with white wine, like seafood or poultry, but it really shines with shellfish.



Gianlorenzo (second from right) & the Picollo family


In many circumstances, when I see a producer with different levels and different takes on the same grape variety, I would recommend saving a few bucks and popping the entry-level bottle, leaving the similar, yet more expensive wine be. Not in this case. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gianlorenzo’s entry-level Gavi, but for less than $5 more, you can get your hands on a much classier, complex, and precise take on what the best terroirs can do for a humble grape such as Cortese. It is well worth the investment! Knowing that there is an abundance of white wine out there which is less complex, less interesting, less tasty, yet far more expensive, we head back to the bin with Picollo’s Gavi di Gavi Rovereto time and time again. It’s THAT good, and because you’re buying it directly from the importer, it’s THAT inexpensive! – Peter Zavialoff

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Sometimes the most enjoyable wine is the simplest. Take our bestselling Gavi from Ernesto Picollo – it is made with one grape, Cortese, fermented in tank for approximately three weeks and then bottled. Simple, no? But what results! Lemony, citrusy flavors made vibrant with a solid backbone of acidity. The 2014 Gavi just landed in our warehouse and it’s as wonderful as the previous seven vintages TWH has carried!
 
Rovereto
 
At $10.99 a bottle, it isn’t difficult to understand whyPicollo’s Gavi is a bestseller. It’s an authentic wine made by a tight-knit Italian family who continue to push themselves to make the best possible wine for a very fair price. Gianlorenzo Picollo is the third generation proprietor, whose shy demeanor can mask his passion for the work in the vineyard and the cellar. Because there isn’t much in the way of manipulation in the cellar, it is crucial to bring in excellent fruit. Gianlorenzo accomplishes this with green harvesting and keeping reasonable yields.
 
The Picollo Family
 
Though part of Piedmont, its proximity to the Ligurian Sea gives Gavi a more Mediterranean climate as opposed to the continental climate of Barolo and Barbaresco to the north.The winery is located in the hamlet of Rovereto in the heart of Gavi. The Picollo farm is right across from the church, just as depicted on their label. David travelled to Italy for the first time this past summer to visit with many of our Italian producers. David asked for Picollo’s coordinates since he was getting there by car and was using GPS.Gianlorenzo ignored his request and told him when he gets to the church, there they are!
 
Vineyards in Gavi
 
We had been out of Gavi for over a month. Our container from Italy was delayed over and over. I was at a loss, for the Gavi is my staple for Friday Night Fish Fry.Whether it’s baked filet of sole, linguine with clams, or pesto pasta, Gavi matches it all. Though fragrant and full of character, Picollo’s Gavi is the perfect foil for fish, shellfish and vegetarian dishes because it doesn’t overwhelm the palate. You notice the acidity but it is never harsh and the citrusy flavors are snappy. The 2014 comes in at 12% abv, keeping things light and easy.
 
My calendar for 2015 is filling up fast. When I read a post on FB warning that there were only ten Saturdays until Christmas, I felt sick to my stomach. Stay in the moment, I coached myself. One thing at a time. Yes, one thing. Ah yes,the one thing that I am most looking forward to isour event at Mourad’s on October 22 featuring the wines of Ouled Thaleb, Morocco’s oldest working winery. We’ve been carrying Ouled Thaleb wines for some time now, so I am especially excited to taste through them while dining at Mourad Lahlou’s newest restaurant. Seats are still available, so if interested in joining us, please give us a call. – Anya Balistreri
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Picollo’s Gavi di Gavi “Rovereto”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 7:32 PM

The 2012 Gavi di Gavi “Rovereto” from Ernesto Picollo captures the essence of seaside freshness as it combines lime-scented, citrusy fruit with sparkling acidity.There is no argument that Ernesto Picollo’s Gavi DOCG is a true workhorse and bargain, but when you want a little more there there, the “Rovereto” is the way to go. Picollo’s winery and most of their vineyards are in the hamlet of Rovereto within Gavi in southeastern Piedmont. Often referred to as the crown jewel of Piedmontese whites, Gavi, in actuality, has more in common with its southern neighbor’s wines, Liguria. In fact, Rovereto’s climate is influenced by its proximity to the Ligurian sea. The maritime breezes make their way up the hills to Rovereto, preserving there a more Mediterranean climate. Most of Gavi has a mix of both sand and clay soils, however in Rovereto soils tend to be more clay, allowing for reserves of water for deep roots during dry summer months. Also, Rovereto gets full southern exposure, which helps with ripening.
Gavi’s grape, Cortese, can trace its history way, way back. There is written documentation from 1659 naming it as one of the vines planted on an estate in Piedmont. It was prized for its resistance to grape disease and for producing quality grapes with high yields. Ideally Cortese needs a dry climate, meager soils and good sun exposure, all things that Rovereto provides.

 

So it follows that the lush texture of Picollo’s “Rovereto” with its golden hue and zippy minerality is especially complimentary to seafood and in particular to shellfish. All stainless steel tank-fermented, there is plenty of concentration propelled by a suave palate feel, making Picollo’s “Rovereto” dangerously easy to finish off well before any food shows up at the table. But remember, this is Italian wine and Italians insist on eating food while drinking wine, so do as they say and make sure to have a few nibbles on hand when you pull the cork. Enough with the lecture!

 

This really happened. At a staff tasting we tried a white wine that struck us as interesting but maybe didn’t quite wow us, so we decided to give it another chance and placed it in the fridge overnight to see if it would evolve in the bottle. At the end of the following day, after the shop was closed up and before heading out, Chris presented Pete and me with a glass of white wine. I took a whiff and was positively baffled at how dramatically the sample white we tried the day before had changed.  Gone were the earthy, adhesive aromas and in its place was pulpy citrus, charged acidity and a fragrant herbal nose. It was fabulous! Could a wine really change that much overnight? Well the glass in my hand certainly proved it could, that is until Pete caught sight of my confusion and also noticed the vast difference between the wine we tasted the day before and the one we were tasting now. Putting two and two together, Pete quickly announced that what we were drinking was not the funky sample but most likely the 2012 Gavi di Gavi “Rovereto” from Ernesto Picollo. This made perfect sense to me however the only way Chris could have gotten a hold of a perfectly chilled bottle of “Rovereto” was to have opened a bottle that I had placed hours before in the fridge to take home for my Friday Night Fish Fry! Flip flopping from bouts of laughter to shooting “you son of a gun” glances over at Chris for ruining my planned dinner wine, I had to admit it was a comical way to end the work week and that great wine will always and immediately make itself known.

 

The last couple of weeks have been tough. Without going into details, let me just say that my family has faced some rough challenges – but we’re a tight bunch and I am thankful for that. In between handling family matters, I have taken some time out to bask in summertime’s fun.  An annual trip to the Sonoma County Fair with my daughter and husband was a highlight. Who can resist newborn piglets, greasy fair food, or a free cone of vanilla ice cream from the Clover stand? Oh yeah, and I helped rescue a drowning woman out of the Russian River. All of this makes me more mindful of how blessed I am for the family I have and how it’s best to do now and not later. There is a bag of calamari in my freezer that went in when my husband passed on going to a long ago planned, all-guys retreat to stay home with me while things were still up in the air. The calamari is going to be fried up soon and with it a bottle of 2012 Gavi “Rovereto” will be served. I’ll just have to make sure to hide the bottle away from Chris! – Anya Balistreri
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2012 Gavi DOCG from Ernesto Picollo

Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:10 AM

Day 4 at the new place: wine is finally making it to the sales floor. Priority number one? Stack up the 2012 Gavi DOCG from Ernesto Picollo! Why this wine? It is arguably our most universally preferred under $12 bottle of white in the store. I am not sure that the winery’s name, Ernesto Picollo, is what people remember but our customers sure know to ask for “the Gavi”.

 

The Gavi appellation is located in Italy’s Piedmonte region. The grape is Cortese, a variety cultivated in this area for hundreds of years. Cortese’s signature appeal is the white flower aromas, subtle fruitiness and lively fresh finish. Picollo’s Gavi precisely exhibits these attributes. Measuring under 13% alcohol, usually around 12.5%, Picollo’s Gavi is light on its feet so you can enjoy a glass before dinner without feeling weighted down. 

 

The Picollo family has been making wine for three generations, currently farming close to 8 hectares of vines in traditional fashion. The average age of the vines is between 25 to 30 years, though much of the newer vines go into the Gavi DOCG. Fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel, the success of this wine lies with the excellent farming, resulting in perfectly grown grapes with which to make wine.

 


Not only have we managed to move our entire store this week, but we also took in our first container! The container arrived from Italy with replenished stocks of Picollo’s Gavi. There was a slight lag between running out of the ’11 Gavi and getting in the ’12 Gavi. During this time, I was forced to bring home other affordable whites. I discovered new favorites, but I really missed my Gavi. The nuanced white blossom and melon flavors blanketed by a sea breeze fresh, mineral core is deeply satisfying. I love how it balances out salty snacks. Friday’s Fish Night menu at Taverna Balistreri is often a Meyer lemon topped, herby, bread-crumbed baked filet of Petrale. It is a delicate fish, therefore it needs something light and fresh to go with it. The 2012 Gavi DOCG from Picollo is the hands-down winner for this match-up. 

 

I was working at TWH when it moved from Bryant to Carolina Street. After that ordeal, I vowed never to do it again! Ha ha. The grueling work aside, I am thrilled to be in this new location. I must commend my colleagues who put in many, many extra hours/days to accomplish this task. Everyone did their part and then some, all the while making it fun with lots of laughter and cheery repartee. And now, sitting at our new workstation, I am feeling an even deeper appreciation for our customers. So many of you have already ventured to our new spot and have patiently waited as we scrambled around the warehouse trying to locate wine for you. Yep, the sales floor is not fully stocked … but it’s getting there! TWH customers are the best! Thank you… – Anya Balistreri
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2011 Ernesto Picollo Gavi DOCG

Monday, June 17, 2013 7:20 PM

Don’t look now, but we are steaming into summer! Solstice is coming up on Friday, I wish I could be in Santa Barbara for that, but alas, I had a very rare weekend off last week. The band played 2 shows up in Hood River, Oregon, and we had a blast. A little wine was sipped, both local and imported, and there were many memorable moments, that’s for sure. Being June and all, there was a whole lot of daylight up there, so yeah, summer is on the mind big time! It must be time to stock up on this year’s refrigerator door white wine. This is an absolute no-brainer here. What else could it be? The 2011 Ernesto Picollo Gavi DOCG.

 

After having put together a Dirty Dozen or two over the past 7 years, it has become more than obvious that as far as good quality sub $10 wine bargains go, there are substantially more red options than white. Why that is, I don’t know, but it’s a fact. That’s what makes Picollo’s Gavi extraordinary.  We’ve been importing the Ernesto Picollo line for several vintages now, and we are absolutely delighted with the wines. Their entry-level Gavi DOCG is a great example of how refreshing the Cortese grape can be. Grown in Piemonte, Gavi is the white wine of choice all along the coast from the Italian Riviera to Cinque Terre. Think fresh citrus aromas with a hint of melon; the palate is framed by zippy white fruit and a whiff of pebbly minerals, which leads the taster to a bright, lipsmacking finish. I could totally see myself back in sunny Bordighera looking out over the Mediterranean sipping on a glass of this whilst I toss back a bowl of gamberi. The beauty of Picollo’s Gavi DOCG, is that it is great on its own as well as being versatile enough to pair with crustaceans, poultry, pork, or white fish. So what does this baby cost? $10.49 per bottle. By the case? How about less than $9??!!?? Definite no-brainer here.

 

 

It’s really hard to find enjoyable wines for less than $10. It’s even harder to find a good white wine in that price range. But that’s what we do; as Anya says, “We taste a lot of bad wines so you don’t have to.” When we say yes to something, it’s for good reason. Like the Ernesto Picollo Gavi DOCG. I fondly remember the first vintage we carried. I took a bottle over to my favorite Monday night haunt,and excitedly poured a taste for Bruce Hill himself. He took a sip, his expression changed, he nodded and smiled, “Nice,” he said.“What’s the grape?”
“Cortese,” I replied.
“Great, we’ll pour it by the glass at the Pizzeria. Good find. Tell (the manager).”
Let’s just say that I got to know their valets very well, as I used their parking lot several times to drop off cases of the stuff on my way home after work. If it was good enough for them, it is certainly good enough for me, and I will consider it a failure if I ever come home to a summer-heated treehouse and not have a bottle of Gavi already in the fridge!

 

So yeah, summer is almost here. It’s time for summer traditions like grilling, hiking, biking, hanging at the beach, I could go on but you all know what I’m getting at. Stocking up on quality, inexpensive white wine is another summer tradition that won’t be going away any time soon. As long as they continue to produce it, let’s just say that the Ernesto Picollo Gavi DOCG will be a summer tradition in 2013, and for years to come. Oh, and to all the Dads out there, best wishes for a Happy Father’s Day! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about summer, inexpensive white wine, the band, or English Football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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