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Wine of the Week

1997 Icardi Cortese "L'Aurora," Piedmont (About $11)

April 21, 1999|S. IRENE VIRBILA

For more than a century, Cortese has been a prized white grape in southeastern Piedmont, where the most famous example is Cortese di Gavi. But here's a terrific version from a producer better known for Barbera and Moscato. Called "L'Aurora" (the dawn), it is an aromatic pale gold wine with intriguing citrus and mineral notes. Unlike Gavi, which can be watery and bland, this Cortese is reminiscent of a good Condrieu in ripeness and weight. It shows what's possible with this grape when it's vinified with skill. It merits an enthusiastic bravo--especially at this price.

It would be great with seafood--say, grilled fish or seared scallops. Look for it on wine lists too; some restaurants around town offer it by the glass.

(If you cannot find this wine, ask your local store to order it from the distributor, Vinifera Imports, Ronkonkoma, N.Y. The local representative is Enrico Nicoletta, [310] 768-8940.)

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