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Gaja Barbaresco 2009

Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
  • RP93
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14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Gaja Barbaresco is garnet in color. The nose is almost sensual in its complexity, with aromas of forest fruits, plums, licorice, mineral and coffee scents. The taste is long, with a complex finish with fine, silk-like tannins and good acidity; dense structure, full of super-ripe fruit.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Barbaresco is absolutely remarkable for the way it carersses the palate with endless layers of sweet red fruit. Will the 2009 shut down in bottle? Truth is, I don’t know, but the wine is exceptionally beautiful and polished from the very first taste. Ripe, red berries, crushed flowers and deeply spiced notes are woven into an intricate fabric of indescribable class. I am not sure how Angelo Gaja and his team do it, but this is a super-impressive wine in every way. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.
Rating: 93+
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Gaja’s latest Barbaresco shows deep aromatic layers of ripe fruit, leather, black licorice, dried herb and savory tobacco. It is extremely velvety and smooth, with firm tannins and a richly extracted fruit finish.
JS 93
James Suckling
Balanced and fruity with hints of spice and berries and a milk chocolate undertone. Full-bodied, with round tannins and a juicy finish. Very approachable now.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
The aromas are restrained for now, but the latent perfume is there. This is locked up tightly on the palate, with dusty tannins asserting themselves on the finish. Could exude a sense of purity and complexity if given time. Features a long, spicy aftertaste.
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Gaja
Gaja, Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
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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.

Barbaresco

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A wine that most perfectly conveys the spirit and essence of its place, Barbaresco is true reflection of terroir. Its star grape, like that in the neighboring Barolo region, is Nebbiolo. Four townships within the Barbaresco zone can produce Barbaresco: the actual village of Barbaresco, as well as Neive, Treiso and San Rocco Seno d'Elvio.

Broadly speaking there are more similarities in the soils of Barbaresco and Barolo than there are differences. Barbaresco’s soils are approximately of the same two major soil types as Barolo: blue-grey marl of the Tortonion epoch, producing more fragile and aromatic characteristics, and Helvetian white yellow marl, which produces wines with more structure and tannins.

Nebbiolo ripens earlier in Barbaresco than in Barolo, primarily due to the vineyards’ proximity to the Tanaro River and lower elevations. While the wines here are still powerful, Barbaresco expresses a more feminine side of Nebbiolo, often with softer tannins, delicate fruit and an elegant perfume. Typical in a well-made Barbaresco are expressions of rose petal, cherry, strawberry, violets, smoke and spice. These wines need a few years before they reach their peak, the best of which need over a decade or longer. Bottle aging adds more savory characteristics, such as earth, iron and dried fruit.

Nebbiolo

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Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piemontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. This finicky grape and needs a very particular soil type and climate in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Tiny amounts are produced in Washington, Virginia, Mexico and Australia.

In the Glass

Nebbiolo at its best is an elegant variety with velveteen tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a captivating perfume. Common characteristcs of a well-made Nebbiolo can include roses, violets, licorice, sandalwood, spicebox, smoke, potpourri, black plum, red cherry and orange peel. Light brick in color, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow.

Perfect Pairings

Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best cuisine. The region is famous for its white truffles, wild boar ragu and tajarin pasta, all perfect companions to Nebbiolo.

Sommelier Secret

If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.

LIM683540_2009 Item# 121288