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Gavi Perlante, the lighter bubbles

“Oh, that’s yummy,” she said, the first truly expressive thing she’s said about the wines I’ve brought to dinner. While there’s not been a week she and her husband haven’t enjoyed the wines that are my share of the meal, tonight the delicate fruit and a sparkling acidity of the Gavi 2009 Principessa Perlante evoked a new response.

“That’s really nice, what did you say this was?” she asked, her dinner, straight out of Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food,” forgotten for a minute. “I really like this.”

2009 Principessa Perlante

The Principessa Perlante ($13-$18) has great fruitiness but it’s super-dry with only 12.5 percent alcohol, both attribute my hostess looks for in a wine. My once-a-week hostess/chef loves dry whites (her husband drinks it all but prefers Italian reds) and last week we all gladly sipped the Principessa Gavia Gavi, the still version of Italy’s wonderful white grape, the Cortese di Gavi from Piemonte.

The wines are very pale straw in color, with a nose of pineapple and apples and a plate hinting of green apple and tropical fruits, perfect for these warm summer nights and lighter meals. Both wines are produced by Vigne Regali, an 18th-centure winery in Strevi, Italy, now owned and operated by the importers Banfi Vintners. The grapes are sourced a few kilomters away at the Banfi’s Prinicipessa Gavia Gavi estate, which exclusively grows the Cortese di Gavi grape.

“Perlante” signifies the light perlage (the ribbon of bubbles from the bottom of the glass), and while I’ve read the Principessa Perlante described as a “frizzante” (compared to the heavier ribbons of bubbles in a spumante), the Principessa seems lighter and more delicate than a frizzante. Even the bottle, a heavy, slope-shouldered version of a classic sparkling wine bottle, evokes the pleasurable anticipation of something special.

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