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Gaja Costa Russi 2011

Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy
  • RP94
  • V94
  • WS93
  • WE93
  • JS93
14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Gaja Costa Russi 2011 displays dark ruby, almost purple color accompanied by a captivating and refined nose with well-integrated aromas of blackberries, violets and roasted coffee beans. Elegance and crystal purity characterize this extremely complex and densely woven wine with an aging potential of decades.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Costa Russi delivers youthfulness and brightness with bold cherry fruit flavors, cassis, spice and mild cola. The wine excels in in the mouth where it shows a great degree of roundness and suppleness. Costa Russi is Nebbiolo with a tiny addition of Barbera.
V 94
Vinous
Round, supple and succulent, the 2011 Costa Russi is laced with dark red cherry, plum, mocha, cloves and new leather. The classic Costa Russi personality comes through in a soft, gracious wine with tons of near and medium-term appeal. The Costa Russi captures an attractive middle ground between the ripe, pliant style of the year and the medium bodied grace of Nebbiolo. I expect the 2011 will offer a long and broad drinking window of pure pleasure. Although Costa Russi is often the most precocious of Gaja's single-vineyard wines, it is the last site to be picked.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
A succulent, fluid red, featuring black cherry, raspberry, leather, spice and anise aromas and flavors. The ripe fruit is layered over a taut weave of acidity and tannins, leaving a long, complex aftertaste of cooked fruit, mocha and spice.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Surprisingly bright for the vintage and displaying Gaja’s trademark elegance, this offers aromas of blue flower, perfumed berry, cake spices and a whiff of leather. The ripe palate delivers mature black cherry layered with white pepper and cinnamon alongside supple tannins.
JS 93
James Suckling
Lots of white truffles, dark berries and mineral aromas follow through to a full body with fine tannins and a chewy finish. Needs time to come together. I like the 2010 better. Try drinking in 2016.
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Gaja
Gaja, 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.

Piedmont

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Set upon a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, the enchanting and rolling hills of Piedmont are the source of some of the country’s longest-lived and most sought-after wines. Vineyards cover a great majority of the land area—especially in Barolo—with the most prized sites at the top hilltops or on south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. Piedmont has a continental climate with hot, humid summers leading to cold winters and precipitation year-round. The reliable autumnal fog provides a cooling effect, especially beneficial for Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most prestigious variety.

In fact, Nebbiolo is named exactly for the arrival of this pre-harvest fog (called “nebbia” in Italian), which prolongs cluster hang time and allows full phenolic balance and ripeness. Harvest of Nebbiolo is last among Piedmont's varieties, occurring sometime in October. This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure; the best examples can require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. Across the Tanaro River, the Roero region, and farther north, the regions of Gattinara and Ghemme, also produce excellent quality Nebbiolo.

Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin and juicy red fruit. Dolcetto, Piedmont’s other important red grape, is usually ready within a couple of years of release.

White wines, while less ubiquitous here, should not be missed. Key varieties include Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso, Erbaluce and the sweet, charming Muscat, responsible for the brilliantly recognizable, Moscato d'Asti.

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.

SWS368880_2011 Item# 138274