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Cortese grapes

by | Oct 5, 2016

Every wine lover must have heard or tasted about Cortese during his spree of wine-tasting. Cortese is one variety of white Italian wine grapes.


This white wine grape is majorly grown in the southeast regions of Piedmont in Italy, predominantly in the provinces of Asti as well as Alessandria.

Cortese is considered as a primary variety of the grape of the Denominazione di Origine Controllate wines also known as DOC of the Cortesedell’Alto Monferrato as well as Colli Tortonesi and also Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, also known as DOCG wine of the Cortese di Gavi.

All the relevant plantings of this white wine grape can be easily found in the region of Lombardy of the Oltrepo Pavese as well as in the DOC white blends of the wine region Veneto of Bianco di Custoza.

This white wine grape variety hasn’t been grown and developed recently but entertains a long and a notable history in the whole Italian viticulture.

A proper documentation of this variety of white wine grape has been created by the enthusiasts who have been curious to know this wine grape in and out.

The production and yielding of this white wine grape is not so easy. Cortese must be handled and watched carefully in the vineyard to make sure that the grapes mature at their best.

Wine grape varieties

The vine of Cortese is a productive as well as vigorous vine. Thus, if the fields are not checked and maintained properly, the yielding of this white wine grape will meet a dead end.

The wines produced out of these unmaintained vines could taste bland and could lack to entertain all its characters.

Another important thing in the production of these grapes is the ripeness level of the grapes. The white wine grapes are well ripened in the environments of Gavi, where this variety of grape is widely grown.

However, in the other areas such as Piedmont, the ripening of this variety of grapes becomes a little difficult.

The grapes fail to ripen completely and as a result the wines produced out of these grapes characterize a high level of acidity. This is the reason why the grape is not grown in abundance out of its native place.

Cortese is known to the world by different names such as Corteis, Cortese Bianca, Bianca Fernanda, CorteseBianco, Cortesedell’Astigiliano, Cortesed’Asti, Cortesi, Courteis, Fernanda Bianca as well as Raverusto.

The wines prepared from this variety of white wine grape, particularly from the DOCG Gavi are favored by a number of hotels and restaurants in the southern neighboring port of Genoa.

The acidity of the wines prepared out of Cortese is light and therefore it is admired by a number of wine-lovers.

The Cortese wines are mainly medium that are bodied with the notes of greengage as well as limes.

The winemaking techniques such as oak barrel fermentation as well as malolactic fermentation are used to prepare a variety of wines from the Cortese grape.


The earliest documentation of this variety of white wine grape has been found in the year 1659.

This documentation states that all the vineyards of this variety of grape were planted with Vermentino.

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In the year 1870, it was again found that this variety of white wine grape was widely cultivated in the areas of Alessandria province of Piedmont.

The vineyards of Cortese here were prized for its hardiness to the widespread grape diseases as well its ability to produce the yields of large crops and the wine of high quality.


Cortese is a variety of white wine grape which is most popular for its role in the lime-scented and crisp wines of Gavi. This variety of grape produces wines which are light and crisp.

The grapes are citrus and fruity as to their tastes and hence the wines produced out of these grapes flavors the same. The wines produced from Cortese entertain a pleasant fragrance of almonds.

Cortese has the ability to retain its freshness even if it is grown in the hottest of environments.

The wines produced out of this grape are majorly characterized with the flavors of apple, honeydew as well as peach.

The wines produced out of Cortese have a pale lemon-white appearance.

Food pairing

This wine tastes at its best when it is paired with a dish of pasta with basil and pine nuts.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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