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Gaja Conteisa 2014

Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
  • JS98
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14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Garnet red in color, this wine offers an expressive floral nose with notes of red berries, plums, licorice and spices. It reflects the essence of the Cerequio terroir: sumptuous texture and a very refined character with perfectly integrated tannins.

Pair with game, roasts and prime rib.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 98
James Suckling
The nose opens with a startling play between white truffles, bark and tea leaves and then crushed violets, lavender, blueberry peel, lemon rind and sour cherries. Full body, ultra-fine tannins, acidity as sharp as a razor and a long, ethereally mineral finish. The length but sheer clarity and accuracy in the delivery is remarkable. Perhaps hard to believe that this better than the 2013, but it is. Drink in 2022.
RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Barolo Conteisa is an impressive wine that defies the odds of the vintage. Although the Cerequio vineyard did not suffer hail in 2014 (it did in 2016), grape production was reduced by half anyway. The remaining grapes delivered their best with intense flavors and crisp contours. Gaia Gaja tells me that the clusters harvested were perfect in appearance. This is a perfumed wine that offers defined aromas of wild cherry that rise to the top with intensity. The wine's tonality is dark and thick, and the tannins are full and structured.
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
Aromas of underbrush, dark berry, new leather and a whiff of camphor waft out of the glass. The tense chiseled palate evokes Marasca cherry, raspberry, star anise and a hint of cinnamon alongside polished fine-grained tannins and vibrant acidity. Drink 2022–2032.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Though young and still a bit rough around the edges, this is harmonious, featuring cherry, berry, herb and tar aromas and flavors. The finish is long and vibrant, with earth and mineral elements. Best from 2021 through 2035.
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Gaja
Gaja, 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.

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The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.

There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.

On the eastern side of the region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soils types.

The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.

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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.

SWS919564_2014 Item# 517192