Gaja Barbaresco 2016  Front Label
Gaja Barbaresco 2016  Front LabelGaja Barbaresco 2016  Front Bottle Shot

Gaja Barbaresco 2016

  • WE98
  • WS96
  • RP96
  • JS96
  • W&S96
  • JD94
  • D93
750ML / 14% ABV
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Immediately rich and complex, with racy violet, rose, black cherry and dark licorice, complemented by notes of white pepper, cloves and soft leather. An intriguing mineral character adds to the bouquet. Full and mouth-coating on entry and throughout the mid-palate, the wine shows layers of ripe, dark and juicy fruits, black cherry, plum and sweet blueberry. Licorice and dark chocolate notes further enhance the complexity. A hallmark of this wine in great vintages is the laser-perfect balance of acidity and tannin, giving freshness and incredible length to the finish. Well-integrated oak amplifies the structure without interfering with its elegance and drinkability.

Barbaresco is a great food wine. Traditionally served with roasted braised meat such as beef, pork and boar, Barbaresco is actually very versatile: owing to its high acidity and red fruit profile. It pairs well with roasted chicken, veal, game birds and even seafood. Heartier pasta and risotto dishes are other obvious pairings, as are aged Italian cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 98
Wine Enthusiast
Aromas of rose, red berry and eucalyptus mingle with whiffs of exotic spice on the gorgeous, fragrant red. Loaded with finesse and tension, the elegant, structured palate delivers crushed raspberry, white pepper and star anise set against fresh acidity and taut, lithe tannins. It’s already compelling, but hold for even more complexity. Drink 2022–2036.
Cellar Selection
WS 96
Wine Spectator
This gorgeous red evokes rose, strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit, shaded by tobacco, tar and wild thyme notes. Pure, sleek and intense, with a firm base of tannins and vibrant acidity for support. This should evolve beautifully. Be patient. Best from 2022 through 2043.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I tasted this wine over two sittings, one at the winery and one at my home office a few weeks later. Although I can't claim any extraordinary differences between the two sessions, I noticed a few minimal shifts that are essential to understanding the wine's future aging ability. The 2016 Barbaresco starts off slow at first, showing a small margin of aromatic evolution in the glass. But come back two hours later, and you can almost hear the soft sounds of the symphony playing just below the surface. The 2016 vintage is characterized by the solid intensity and firmness of its aromas, which transcend fruit and veer toward balsamic herb, licorice, tar and smoke instead. The tannins offer a moment of sweetness and softness, before you are aware of their undeniable firmness. In all, there is a certain glossiness or satiny quality to the mouthfeel that underlines the wine's carefully crafted integration. I would describe this as a classic and also a somewhat austere Barbaresco that fully deserves extra cellar time to stretch those tight muscles and grow in volume. This wine will award those who wait.
JS 96
James Suckling

This is all about finesse with power. Such great length here with ever so refined tannins and precise strawberry, cedar, dried-rose and mineral character. Medium body. Fresh and vivid finish. Hard not to drink now, but wait until at least 2021.

W&S 96
Wine & Spirits
The Gaja family calls 2016 one of the best vintages they have ever experienced, with a long, slow ripening period without heat stress or disease pressure. That balance comes through in this suave, elegant Barbaresco. It smells of soft rose petals and tastes of juicy cherries and spiced raspberries, the flavors gliding along smooth, ripe tannins. With air, the wine picks up energy and depth, moving into a long, vibrant finish.
JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck

The 2016 Barbaresco showed beautifully, with a classical yet seductive and sweetly fruited style that's going to evolve gracefully. Medium ruby-hued, with a core of sweet red fruits balanced by classic dried flowers, licorice, asphalt, and medicinal herbs, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness that carries impress sweet fruit as well as building tannins. Barbaresco doesn't get more classic, and while it has a sunny, sweetly fruited style, it also has ample underlying tannins and structure, so give bottles 4-5 years. It should deliver the goods for two decades or more.

D 93
Decanter
The nose is poised, displaying very ripe raspberry and black berry aromas. The attack has intensity, partly thanks to its pungent acidity, but there's no rawness and the tannins are ripe. This is taut and structured and needs time. While concentrated, it's not excessively so, and the wine retains its delicacy through the very long finish. Drinking Window 2020 - 2040
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Gaja

Gaja

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Gaja, Italy
Gaja Sperss Vineyard Winery Image

Perched atop a steep hill in the Langhe sits the small village of Barbaresco, home of the GAJA winery. 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. Since that time, the winery has been shaped by each generation’s hand, notably that of Clotilde Rey, Angelo Gaja’s grandmother. Her passion for uncompromising quality influenced and informed Angelo Gaja. Through Angelo, these values have become the cornerstone of the GAJA philosophy and are engrained in every aspect of wine production

 In 1961, Angelo Gaja began his mission of bringing this great winery to an even higher level. He was the first to use barriques, 225-liter French oak barrels. Under his direction, GAJA pioneered the production of single-vineyard designated wines and was the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varietals in Piedmont. He was also instrumental in elevating the native Nebbiolo grape to world-class esteem.

 Angelo Gaja is joined by the fifth generation of the GAJA family – his daughters Gaia and Rossana and his son Giovanni. Together they continue to advance the winery’s 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 their terroir – the combination of soil, weather and vines that grow upon them, that GAJA wines reveal their true heart and soul.

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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.

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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 Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.

SOU943611_2016 Item# 543232

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