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”
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.
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.
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.
The rest of the Barbaresco stable
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
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.
Gaja Sori Toldin
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.
Sori San Lorenzo
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.
Gaja’s leading wines are not classified as Barolos; Angelo Gaja the prominent owner is vocally opposed to following the rules of the region’s authorities, instead Gaja adds the grape Barbera to the blend and uses the classification Langhe DOC. However, his wines remain the flagship for Barolo and Barbaresco alike. “Getting to the top in any field is hard. Staying at the top is even harder. For all of the praise Angelo Gaja and his family have received over the years, they have earned and deserve every bit of it.” Antonio Galloni
In 1988 Gaja purchased a 30 acre vineyard in one of Serralunga’s best areas and named it ‘Sperss’ – Piedmontese for ‘nostalgia’. The blend is made up of 94% Nebbiolo, 6% Barbera and is aged for 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks. It is classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. Angelo
‘Conteisa’ is Piedmontese for ‘quarrel’ – referring to a historic dispute between the communes of La Morra and Barolo for possession of the Cerequio land. The blend is made up of 92% Nebbiolo, 8% Barbera. It is aged for 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks. It is classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC.
This is named after the Gromis family who owned the vineyard in La Morra commune during the 19th century. The wine is belended with fruit taken from vineyard in Serralunga and is 100% Nebbiolo. It is aged for 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks. It is classified as Barolo DOCG.