Aroma: The nose is almost sensual in its complexity, with aromas of forest fruits, plums, licorice, mineral and coffee scents.
Taste: Long, complex finish with fine, silk-like tannins and good acidity; dense structure, full of super-ripe fruit.
"Gaja's 2003 Barbaresco may well challenge its bigger siblings as the most successful of these new releases. Made in a style that combines expressive aromatics, the ripeness of the vintage and classic structure, it is an awesome effort. Though it offers plenty of super-ripe fruit and notable concentration, it never comes across as being heavy and displays exceptional overall balance."
-The Wine Advocate
The story of the Gaja Winery can be traced to a singular, founding purpose: to produce original wines with a sense of place which reflect the tradition and culture of those who made it. This philosophy has inspired five generations of impeccable winemaking. It started over 150 years ago when Giovanni Gaja opened a small restaurant in Barbaresco, making wine to complement the food he served. In 1859, he founded the Gaja Winery, producing some of the first wine from Piedmont to be bottled and sold outside the region. Ever since, the winery has been shaped by each generation’s hand, notably that of Angelo Gaja. Under Angelo's direction, the the native Nebbiolo grape was elevated to world-class esteem.
Today, Angelo Gaja, alongside Guido Rivella, his winemaker since 1970, and his daughter, Gaia, advance their legacy. To fully realize their vision, all Gaja wines are produced exclusively from grapes grown in estate-owned vineyards, including 250 acres in Piedmont's Barbaresco and Barolo districts as well as estates in Pieve Santa Restituta (Montalcino) and Ca’Marcanda (Bolgheri). It is from these storied vineyards, and the earth, weather and vines upon them, that Gaja wines reveal their true heart.
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Piedmont is located in the Northwest area of Italy, hugging the Mediterranean coast. The regional capital, Turin, is situated smack in the middle of the province. Being close to the alps, the area enjoys a high altitude, with the best vineyards benefiting from the hills and elevation. Known for its famous sub-districts, Piedmont delivers some of the most distinctive, high-quality, ageable wine of Italy. Most popular are the DOCG districts Barolo and Barbaresco, producing Nebbiolo-based wine of the same name. Two other DOCGs of note are Gattinara and Gheme – both make wine from Nebbiolo and are typically earlier to drink but more rustic than their Barolo and Barberesco partners. City-districts in the DOC category include Alba and Asti, where wine like Dolcetto d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti is made, putting the grape name before the town.
Not just regulated to red wine, Piedmont also produces some notable whites, particularly those near the district of Gavi and Asti. Gavi produces still white wine from the Cortese grape. The wine is dry with a crisp, citrus-like acidity – fairly neutral but pleasant. Arneis is another grape/wine made in the area, creating a fuller wine that displays some nuttiness in the aroma and taste. Asti is well known for its sparkling wine – in particular Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante is typically higher in alcohol, sweetness & fizziness, while its higher-class cousin, Mostcato d'Asti, contains lower alcohol levels, a few less bubbles, and a more restrained and delicate representation of Moscato fruit.
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.