This grape variety is cultivated mainly in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria (the Gavi and Tortona zones). It is also grown in other areas beyond the regional boundaries, such as Oltrepò Pavese and Veneto.
The adult leaf is medium sized or medium-large, wedge- or pentagon-shaped and, depending on the clones, with between three and five lobes. The blade is dark green with a bullate surface, cupped profile and slightly twisted lobes.
Cortese bunches are medium-large, 20-25 cm long, rather loose, conical or pyramidal, with one or two wings.
The berries are medium to big, oval and with a thin skin, which takes on a golden shade on the side exposed to the sun, while the other side is green-yellowish in color, and is scarcely bloomy. Their taste is characteristic and enjoyable.
Cortese is a very vigorous variety, with consistently excellent yields over time.
Budbreak: Medium (second ten days of April).
Ripening: Medium (late September).
This is a remarkably vigorous grape variety with constant high yields. Cortese successfully adapts to various training and pruning techniques, from the most traditional, such as the espalier (combined with Guyot or spur cordon pruning), to the more expanded canopy configurations, which however tend to affect grape quality. It is sensitive to powdery mildew.
Cortese grapes are used to make fresh, light wines as well as wines with greater structure and personality and dry spumante.