In 1979, John and Harry Mariani, owners of the U.S. importer, Banfi Vintners, acquired a mid-18th century winery, known as Bruzzone, revitalized it and renamed the facility Vigne Regali. Here, with the same detailed care as a century ago, our skilled winemakers produce L’Ardì Dolcetto d’Acqui D.O.C., a ruby-red still wine, and two exceptional sparkling wines: Banfi Brut Metodo Tradizionale Classico, and “Rosa Regale” Brachetto d’Acqui D.O.C.G., from the La Rosa single vineyard. The rare Brachetto, a semi-dry, red sparkling wine cherished by the Courts of Europe two centuries ago, owes its reincarnation to Banfi.
Just a few kilometers from Strevi lies the Principessa Gavia Gavi estate established by the Mariani family around the same time as Vigne Regali (known today as Banfi Piemonte). This single vineyard is dedicated exclusively to the cultivation of the Cortese di Gavi grape, the sole white grape used to make the prized still wine Principessa Gavia and the lightly frizzante Principessa Perlante.
The Legend of Principessa Gavia
Once upon a time in a land far away, there lived a fair young princess named Gavia, daughter of Clodimir, king of the Franks and son of Clovis I. As young maidens are wont to do, she fell in love with a handsome young man who served as a guard in her father’s court. The couple sought the king’s permission to marry, but he refused to have his daughter wed out of her class. He forbade them to see each other. Desperately in love, the young couple eloped, fleeing to a distant part of the kingdom and settling in a sleepy village on the other side of the alps.
For a long time, they eluded the king’s troops who scoured the land in search of the newlyweds. Alas, one night after enjoying a generous amount of a charming local white wine, the groom became loose-lipped and confided their story to the local innkeeper. The innkeeper nodded and feigned sympathy, but after sending the groom off to bed he sent word to the king and collected a handsome reward. Troops gathered up the couple and brought them back to the king to face their punishment.
By this time word of the romance had spread throughout the kingdom, and there were intercessions on Gavia’s behalf by Alamasunta, Queen of the Goths, as well as Pope St. Hermistas. The King, of course, upon looking into his lovely daughter’s eyes, could not help but forgive her. He blessed their union, and as a wedding gift he bequeathed them the town which they had chosen to settle in. In her honor he gave the name Gavi to the town as well as the charming white wine that was responsible for her husband’s indiscretion.
It is said today that the romance lives on in each glass of Principessa Gavia Gavi.