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June 20, 2014

Gaja Barbaresco 2011

gaja (2)

We are delighted to be able to offer the early 2011 release of Gaja’s exceptional flagship wine Barbaresco. Gaja and Barbaresco are synonymous and ‘Gaja’s Barbaresco’ is the most profound wine of this designation. Angelo Gaja is attributed with creating the techniques that revolutionised winemaking in Italy. In many ways Gaja put Barbaresco on the global map and he is the undisputed king of the region. The wine is considered to be one of the greatest in the world, spoken of in the same breath as Lafite Rothschild, Petrus and Cristal. While the wines are expensive on release they continue to rise in value, trading at premium prices and driving forward the prestige of Italian wines.

The 2011 vintage in Piedmont is exciting, first reports and tasting notes suggest the Barbarescos are superb, possessing voluptuous rich fruit texture, delightful aromas and aromatic complexity, ripe tannin and fresh acidity; ‘The wines show rich, velvety fruit with lots of texture and intensity.’ Monica Larner.

The winter saw less snowfall than normal, while heavy rains in February and March furnished the vines with ample water. The end of March experienced record heat of 33ºC, initiating a rapid start to the growing season. Warm spells in April accelerated the vine progression. An archetypal June was followed by a cool July and then heat turned up again in August and harvest began slightly earlier than normal. The combination of well-timed rainfall in the first week of September and low night temperatures created wonderful conditions for the grapes to achieve full phenolic ripeness and balance. The grapes arrived in the winery in mid-October in healthy condition and ideally suited to making classic Barbaresco.

The 2011 yields are slightly lower than usual and the late ripening Nebbiolo faired wonderfully. No major critic has released their scores yet for Gaja’s Barbaresco, however the 2011s are being parallelled with the the superb 2007s, with comparable rich, velvety and voluptuous fruit.

Gaja Barbaresco is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from 14 different Barbaresco vineyards, at an altitude between 250 and 330 metres above sea level and covering 21.4 hectares. The grapes from each vineyard undergo separate fermentation and maceration, then spend 12 months ageing in barrique, followed by 12 months in large oak casks.

Angelo Gaja introduced several practices to Piedmont, starting in 1961 by experimenting with green harvesting and single vineyard production, which begin with Sori San Lorenzo in 1967, Sori Tildin in 1970 and Costa Russi in 1978. He introduced malolatic fermentation to Piedmont and from 1975-1976 started using French barriques, although by modernists standards he is still reserved in their use. Gaja transported thermo-controllable fermentation equipment and eventually used French grape varieties.

We have managed to increase our first tranche quantity in 2011 and can therefore offer Gaja’s Barbaresco on a first come first serve basis. Few wines have the global cachet of Gaja and their Barbaresco will continue to be their strongest brand, it is the world’s premium Barbaresco and for that reason global reserves are small with demand increasing steadily every year. In fact the reason the 2011 vintage has been released early is due to the 2010 vintage globally selling out and there already being a shortfall in restaurants and cellars. Gaja Barbaresco is made to be ready to drink on release, yet with the concentration and complexity to age for decades. Truly one of the world’s great wines, it displays black cherry, cut roses, anise, smoke, grilled herbs and truffles.

Gaja Barbaresco 2011 New Release 6×75 - £495 IB or £608.76 including duty and VAT
IG Wines – 93+ points
Gaja’s Barbaresco is blended from 14 separate vineyards to create a wine that is ready for drinking but which also has the concentration and complexity to age. The 2011 is a beautiful medium ruby colour, displaying wonderful floral perfume with notes of sweet spice and soft oak. Concentrated aromas of red fruits including cherries and raspberries are intermingled with notes of prune and tangerine. It has lovely fine soft tannins which are already accessible, it is refreshing with lifted acidity. A very pretty and feminine wine with the ability to age as well as drink immediately.

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