I had the privilege to attend an exclusive lunch where the theme was as you will read below Italy’s grandest Grand Cru wines. It was more of a Gaja themed line-up of wines completed with some of the most famous and cult like Super Tuscan’s.
All Gaja’s reds from Piedmont region are high priced wines of considerable force and character. Out of their portfolio, 3 wines stand aside even more as they are produced only from 3 separate single vineyards, all being made of 94-95% Nebbiolo with a small touch of Barberba d’Alba that gives them a higher complexity, but on the same time forbids them to carry the Barolo DOCG appellation. These 3 single Cru wines are the highest expression of Gaja’s know how and Nebbiolo’s interpretation coming from this top producer. They also give life to 3 different expressions of terroir diversity that make wine such an interesting beverage.
The red wines line up started with an older mature wine that today at 25 years old is singing, while the rest were very young (2006), powerful and not overly expressive in comparison. As a conclusion these wines need at least 15 years of bottle age to start to open up.
We started with a Champagne Jacquesson Cuvee no 737 made of 70% wines from the 2009 vintage the rest older wines, from Premier and Grand Cru vines from Grande Vallee de la Marne and Cotes des Blancs. It is maturated sur lies in big oak barrels. It is 43% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier, disgorged in November 2013. Color is medium gold with intense mousse. Initially very citrus like fruit, fresh dough and biscuit with a razor sharp palate, but after 30-45 minutes it gets softer with complex aromas of caramel, milk and pear, with a rounder and softer palate. Medium finish. (91/100)
Gaja Sori Tildin 1990
Ruby red with brick light rim. Pure fresh cedar and mint nose. Extremely expressive. Also black currant buds.
Deep nose, ethereal, rich red fruit, cherries, smoke, game, dry rose petals, balsamic as it aerates. Mineral tones refresh the nose. Rich palate and such a silky smooth mouth feel, lots of red fruits and spices, tar. Very long finish with lingering aftertaste that comes back over and over . Plenty of life ahead, the amplitude of fruit is unbelievable. Very Burgundian like character. 96/100
Gaja Sori Tildin 2006
Deep dark red color. This seems more closed both on the nose and the palate, very tight actually, red fruits, raspberry, cherry, roses, tar, Asian spices. A warm nose. Fresh cedar. Tight palate, assertive and high tannins, youthful, rich legs on the glass, a fat and heady wine, aromas of red cherry, spices, very powerful, lots of structure. Very unforgiving in its youth. Long finish, assertive tannins. 94/100
Gaja Costa Russi 2006
Deep ruby red. Lots of strawberries and raspberries. Spices. Warm nose. Balsamic, a bit ripe. Warm palate. Kind of angular in the mouth and quite unsatisfying for the price. 91-92/100
Gaja San Lorenzo 2006
Deep red almost opaque. Very deep nose, lost of fruit, more black fruit than red, blackcurrant, spices. Very concentrated, lush texture, lots of grainy tannins, plenty of sour cherries, plums, very youthful, toasty and tobacco. It is more international and comes along as a modern Barolo. Long finish. A very powerful wine with a mountain of tannins that needs plenty of time to get soft but it does have a certain weightless feeling in the mouth that makes it even more appealing. Real potential here. (95/100)
There was also a 1974 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano that was cloudy in the glass and unfortunately completely dead.
There were not just any Super Tuscan’s that followed, we are talking about the most sought after investment wines from Italy: Masseto and Sassicaia.
2009 was a warmer vintage so Sassicaia is a bit different than the regular style. There is a riper and more ample fruit both on the nose and palate, with softer tannins and richly textured. Plenty of black fruits, spices, charcoal and leather. Velvety tannins, lingering sweet black berry fruit, spices and a spicy paprika touch. Long finish. (93-94/100)
Today 2009 Sassicaia comes along more as the poor relative of the noble family consisting of this famous wines from Gaja.
Leaving the crazy price aside, Masseto is a wine with its own category. 2008 Masseto has a very dark and opaque red garnet color. Deep and profound nose, very complex and constantly evolving in the glass. There is ripe and sweet black fruit, but there is freshness with cedar and pine needles. Very rich on the palate, dense and concentrated texture, but it has acidity and refreshing velvety tannins that create an amazing balance. Very long and complex wine. The 15.5% alc is just a number here. (97-98/100)
Crazy line up of wines for a regular weekday lunch.