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September 16, 2013

Gaja Barbaresco’s – 2010 En Primeur release

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Gaja Barbaresco DOCG – 2010 – 5 cases (6x75cl) @ £495 IB – 94 points WA
Gaja’s wines… “are serious, aristocratic, red wines of power, perfume and elegance – which may explain why Gaja has been called the Chateau Petrus of Italy”


We are delighted to be able to offer the exceptional 2010 release of Gaja’s flagship wine Barbaresco and single-vineyard Barbarescos, possibly their greatest ever vintage.

Gaja and Barbaresco are synonymous and their flagship wine ‘Gaja 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 is the undisputed king of Barbaresco. The wine is considered to be a one of the greatest wines 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.

Gaja Barbaresco DOCG – 2010 – 5 cases (6x75cl) @ £495 – 94 points WA
This is their seminal wine and the best known globally. It is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from 14 different Barbaresco zone vineyards. It spends 12 months ageing in barrique, followed by 12 months in large oak casks. The 2010 has been rated by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate as the joint highest scoring vintage of the last 50 years, receiving 94 points.

Smack from the start, the 2010 Barbaresco shows full-on Gajissimo personality with irresistible opulence and intensity, magically contrasted against remarkable smoothness and finesse. Everyone wants to know his secret. The wine delivers seductively rich concentration and integrated oak that is offset by a delicate portfolio of chiseled mineral, dried berry fruit, Spanish cedar, crushed herb, anisette and blue flower. Fruit is sourced from 14 vineyards in Barbaresco. It already leaves a mark, but will reward those who wait. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028, tasted Jun 2013 Monica Larner

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 malocatic 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.

Click here to purchase a case

The rest of the stable – very small qaunities available

Gaja Costa Russi 2010 – 2 cases (6x75cl) @ £1,150 IB – 95 points WA 
Gaja Sori Toldin 2010 – 2 cases (6x75cl) @ £ 1,225 IB – 96+ points WA
Sori San Lorenzo 2010 2 cases (6x75cl) @ 1,300 IB – 98 points WA

Gaja like most innovators also brought its share of the polemic, when he intentionally declassified his DOCG Barbaresco and Barolo’s, citing his reason as the desire to be able to introduce small amounts of Barbera to some of his blends: in reality Gaja can do and does whatever he likes, as his wines are some of the most revered in the world. The following wines are made in minuscule quantities and are all 95% Nebbiolo and 5% Barbera, spending 12 months in barriques and again 12 months in large oak casks, classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, due to the use of Barbera.

Gaja Costa Russi 2010 – 2 cases (6x75cl) @ £1,150 95 points WA 

Produced from a single vineyard purchased in 1967. The name is derived from the word ‘costa’ the side of the hill which faces the sun, while Russi is the nickname the former owner. The 2010 is the second ever highest scoring Costa Russi with 95 points.

The 2010 Costa Russi is a vineyard-designate “Barbaresco” (although the wine’s addition of five percent Barbera prohibits it from being called such) that opens to even more profound depth and generosity. As is typical of this cru expression, the wine displays an amazing assortment of aromas that span from the floral to the spicy. Supple, round and seductive, it caresses the palate in the most beautiful fashion. The 2010 vintage is shaping up handsomely for those who collect Gaja’s best bottles. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035, Monica Larner

Gaja Sori Toldin 2010 – 2 cases (6x75cl) @ £ 1,225 – 96+ points WA

Also purchased in 1967 and first produced as a single-vineyard in 1970. Sori is Piedmontese for ‘hilltop’ and Tildin is the Nickname of Clotilde Rey, Angelo’s Grandmother.

Gaia Gaja uses the word “salty” to describe this next wine, and I see her point. The 2010 Sori Tildin shows a dry, firmly structured quality that enhances those extraordinary, breezy overtones of lead pencil and brimstone that so fittingly frame the Nebbiolo grape. The lingering end-notes of rose petal, ginger and cedar are striking. You immediately feel the tannic structure and power of the wine. The jump is very sharp next to the Costa Russi, and that’s why this is one of Gaja’s best cellar-agers. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040, tasted Jun 2013, Monica Larner

Sori San Lorenzo 2010 2 cases (6x75cl) @ 1,300 – 98 points WA

The vineyard was bought in 1964 from the Parish of Alba and thereby named after San Lorezno the patron saint of Alba’s cathedral. This equals their highest ever scored for this wine.

A banner wine for Gaja, the 2010 Sori San Lorenzo brings the infinite and ethereal aromas associated with Nebbiolo into startling focus and clarity. Again, like the Sori Tildin, the structure and tannic firmness of the wine will carry the wine forward over the years and decades ahead. It demands much more time until it fully blossoms. I walked through the San Lorenzo vineyard with Gaia Gaja and she showed me some of their recent activity. Every second row is planted with barley that acts as a natural rototiller given its aggressive root system. Borrowing other “New World” ideas, they’ve started compost piles with Californian red worms and are using (with less success, I’m told) wooden tree boxes to repopulate the birds. All of this must seem very odd to the neighbors. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040, Monica Larner

Global demand for Gaja perennially increases and as one of the greatest wines in the world and arguably the most famous of Italy, their meagre supply falls short of rising global demand. The 2010 could be their combined greatest ever vintage. Nebbiolo famously requires years to develop to its full potential and will improve for 25 years. We have a very small allocation of this production and it is a wine to be secured and savoured as this epic vintage will be heralded for years to come.   “The 2010 vintage has everyone singing its praises, including myself…” Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate