Gaja Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino 2004
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
The parish church, or "Pieve", of Santa Restituta stands on the winery property and gives it its name; the Sugarille vineyard was first recorded in the Pieve's inventory in 1547. The unique position and soil structure of the Sugarille vineyard--calcareous clay with a gently sloping southern exposure--give this wine an expressive, powerful character. This is a very special terroir, producing outstanding, long-aging single-vineyard Brunello.
Rich, complex aromas of ripe fruit (plums and wild cherries), violets and hints of cloves and tobacco.
Elegant structure and ripe, well-integrated tannins. This wine is normally more austere in youth than Rennina due to the slightly firmer tannic structure; but after 5-7 years, its depth and concentration lead to a complex flavor profile of great balance.
Wine Spectator - "Shows aromas of citrus fruit, with raspberry and blackberry. Full-bodied, with a solid core of fruit and silky tannins. Very well-structured, with a hint of new wood on the finish. Long and balanced. Still needs time. The best wine ever from this estate. Best after 2011."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille is darker and richer than the Rennina. Black cherries, plums, tar, licorice, minerals and leather all come together in this brooding Brunello. The fruit remains intense and full-bodied all the way through to the powerful and deeply satisfying close. Despite the wine’s heft, all of the components are woven together with remarkable harmony. This is a wonderful effort from Angelo Gaja. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep, bright red. Nose initially shows dark berries, chocolate and sweet oak but opens with air to reveal redder fruits and flowers that carry through onto the palate. Big, chewy and rich yet with an almost magically light touch, with terrific concentration and energy to the highly concentrated flavors. A distinctly powerful style of Brunello, finishing quite broad, with sappy, saline energy, superb drive and firm, mouthcoating tannins.
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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. View all Gaja Wines
About TuscanyView a map of Tuscany wineries (TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...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.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.