One of northern Italy’s finest white grape varieties, Cortese is better known by the name of its most famous region: Gavi, also known as Cortese di Gavi. With a history that dates to the early 17th century, the grape is also found in other nearby southern Piedmontese regions as well as in the vineyards of Lombardy. Cortese is known for its high yields and acidity, which can be the grape’s downfall if not properly vinified. Winemakers must manage yields and plant the grape in areas where it can ripen properly to avoid producing a simple, neutral white wine with piercing acidity. Cortese can range from light and refreshing to rich and layered, making it a grape with lots of potential.

Learn more about this favorite Italian white with our illustrated guide below.

An Illustrated Guide to Cortese from Italy