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Tasting GAJA wines

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Last week I attended one of the most exciting wine events of 2013: a complete tasting of Angelo Gaja’s wines, organized by the Romanian importer – Vinimondo. The event took place at Radisson Hotel in Bucharest and was hosted by Mrs Michela Inghese – Gaja Wine Ambassador present in Romania for this special occasion.

Gaja is the most famous Piedmontese producer, an innovator who’s wines grew the reputation of this region to new heights. Five generations of Gaja’s have been producing wines in Langhe hills since 1859, the year Gaja Winery was founded in Barbaresco. Angelo Gaja joined the winery in 1961 and started to introduce the wines to foreign markets. Today Gaja Winery owns approximately 101 ha of vineyards in Barbaresco and Barolo.

In 1994 they acquired Pieve Santa Restituta in Montalcino, their first wine estate in Tuscany. From the 27 ha of vineyards here they produce 3 Brunello’s – two single vineyards Brunello’s: Renina and Sugarille, and starting in 2005 a generic Brunello di Montalcino.

In 1996 Gaja family bought a second propery in Tuscany: Ca’Marcanda located in Bolgheri. The name Ca’Marcanda comes from the Piedmontese dialect and means “house of endless negociations” and refers to the time spent by Angelo trying to convince the former owners to sell the property that was once an olive and fruit orchard with few vineyards.  Over 110 ha they grow Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sangiovese. The wines produced here are Promis, Magari and Ca’Marcanda, the first released vintage was 2000.

Rossj Bass 2009

100% Chardonnay aged for 6-7 months in used barriques. Pale light yellow color. Toasty, intense, apricots, citrus, honey, fresh and interesting nose. Toasty, vanilla, citrus and apricots palate, fresh and balanced. Medium finish, nutty. (91/100)

Ca’Marcanda Promis 2009

55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 10% Sangiovese, 12 months of aging in used barriques. Served too cold unfortunately, under 10 degrees Celsius so very closed and unappealing. Ruby red dark color. Youthful nose almost feeling undeveloped. (87/100)

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Ca’Marcanda Magari 2009

50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% cabernet Franc, aged for 12 months in used barriques. Ruby red, dark. Roasted herbs but very peppery-spicy nose, almost like grilled pepperoni, complex and intense, showing red and black currant, with pronounced Cabernet Franc spiciness and herbal character. Supple, spicy-peppery with red fruit layers and yellow plums, assertive tannins, balanced, with cedar freshness. Medium plus finish, spicy and coffee bean flavors. (91/100)

Sito Moresco 2009

35% Nebbiolo, 35% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 months of aging. Ruby red color. Discreet nose that opens up, very peppery, red roasted paprika, black tea, red fruit: raspberry, strawberry, cedar, leather and tar. Supple, assertive tannins, mild fruitiness, spicy, firm structure with a certain austerity on the palate and signs of green vegetables. Medium finish and drying tannins. (88/100)

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Barolo Dagromis 2006

100% Nebbiolo, 12 months aging in barriques followed by 18 months in large oak casks. Fruit harvested from Serralunga d’Alba and La Morra vineyards. Ruby red. Enticing nose, complex, intense and well developed, sweet floral and cherry fruit, dry rose petals, spices: cinnamon and cloves, with green tea leaves freshness. Smooth texture, tar, assertive, round and ripe tannins, with elegant cherry and black tea palate. Medium to long finish with chewy tannins. (91/100)

Barbaresco 2008

Gaja’s flagship wine and one of the Italy’s greatest wine. 100% Nebbiolo, 12 months aging in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks.

Ruby red, more intense color. Complex and constantly evolving on the nose. It shows warm forest floor, elegant cherry fruit, spicy, floral, dry rose petals, cigar ash, black tea leaves, coffee, but very fresh and intense on the nose. Smooth texture and fine grained tannins that show class, balanced, fresh acidity, with tar and floral palate. Full bodied, monumental structure but so weightless and feather like with a velvety mouth feel, beautiful balance between tannins, richness and acidity. Long finish, chewy tannins, spicy and fresh. Pure elegance. (93-94/100)

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Sperss 2007

94% Nebbiolo and 6% Barbera, fruit comes from Serralunga d’Alba and Barolo, 12 months in barriques followed by 18 months in large oak casks. Labelled just a Langhe Nebbiolo DOC because of the small addition of Barbera.

Saturated ruby red color, more opaque. Very complex and profound nose, well developed, multilayer-ed and constantly evolving with air, it feels like you are submersing in a different world of aromas. Elegant, rich and pure red fruit aromas, red and black cherry, raspberries, spices, rose petals, tar, and later on truffles, smoked red fruit jams, with pine needles freshness. Smooth and full on the palate, massive structure of ripe tannins, very intense flavors but so elegant and pure, velvety mouth-feel, with tar, roses and spicy cherry fruit palate. Long and intense finish, assertive and firm tannins only on the aftertaste but so smooth and classy, with lingering flavors. 14.5% alc (96-97/100)

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Later on during the dinner organized at La Brasserie Bistro & Lounge with Michela Inghese we tasted:

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Conteisa 2007

92% Nebbiolo and 8% Barbera, 12 months in barriques followed by 18 months in large oak casks. Fruit comes from vineyards of La Morra and Barolo. That’s why a more feminine and floral wine compared to Sperss.

Produced in a very limited quantity. Saturated ruby red color. Another very complex wine with amazing depth and richness of aromas, very pure and elegant. When smelling this wine you just fell in love with its expressive nose that combines red fruity aromas with potpourri, forest floor, undergrowth and cigars box. Every time you smell it, it reveals a different aromatic profile. Very elegant and feminine, full bodied but supple and so well balanced, it has a monumental structure of tannins, rich, but so weightless and easy to be enjoyed. Long finish, fresh, assertive tannins only in the aftertaste, well balanced by rich layers of cherry and spicy red fruit. 14.5% alc (95/100)

There is virtually no chance that after such monumental wines there can be another one that can play on the same league. And yet the host from La Brasserie managed to do it with a 2008 Tenuta di Trinoro.

921630_519837811410562_1287301059_o2008 Tenuta di Trinoro

Dark reg garnet color, almost opaque. This has the Tuscan sun written all over it.

A very intense, profound, rich and well developed nose. Rich blackberry, plums, black currant, new leather, truffles and cinnamon reveal just a small part of this complex and sweet nose. Full bodied and very succulent compared to the last 2 wines, velvety tannins, concentrated and opulent on the palate, this has such depth that you can just try to imagine where this wine will be in 5 or 10 years. Powerful, but yet so elegant and layered wine. Long finish, velvety, lingering flavors of pure blackberry juice, spices and coffee. In spite of its 14% alc this wine feels a bit heavier than the harmonious and weightless textures of Sperss or Conteisa. 14% alc (94/100)

A one of a kind tasting and evening.

Categories: Italy
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