A visit to Piedmont – Day 2
December 1st, 2015 started with a visit at Gaja winery at 10:30. My first visit to this famous producer situated in the center of Barbaresco village. Angelo Gaja, for anyone that does not know the history of the region, was the one that through his continuous efforts brought the spot light on the wines made in Piedmont.
The winery sits on top of the hill in Barbaresco and offers splendid view through some of the family’s vineyards. The wine making is both traditional and modern employing a combination of small French oak barrels and large ones with an extended process of maturation and long maceration on the skins.
There are several wines produced here one more famous and adored than the other, starting with the whites made from Chardonnay: Rossj Bass and Gaja&Rey, then the reds probably the most famous is the flagship Gaja Barbaresco, then moving to the denser and structured Sperss made from Nebbiolo from Serralunga d’Alba, the silkier and aromatic Conteisa made from vines in La Morra, and the three single vineyard wines Sori Tildin, Sori San Lorenzo and Costa Russi. Gaja’s portfolio in Piedmont contains other wines also.
- Gaja Barbaresco 2012 shows a velvety structure of tannin (like all the other Gaja’s wines) but a soft and elegant side as well, with a lush aromatic profile of sweet and pure red cherry fruit.
- Gaja Barolo Dagromis 2011 is more powerful, with strong tannin, high acidity and a grippy mouth feel, here there is nerve and tension.
- Gaja Barbaresco 1986 from Magnum is a fully mature wine, where tannin is fully integrated, and the aromatic profile is filled with brown sugar, balsamic notes and dried sweet red fruit. Very silky and mellow mouth feel, it has a medium black aromatic tea finish. It is a wine that should be consumed.
- Gaja&Rey 2007 was the Chardonnay served at the end. Its deep gold color glows in the glass. Butter, dry pineapple and apricot fruit, toast are just some of the lush aromas you can feel on the nose. Very creamy and buttery on the palate, it is a pleasure to drink today.
Closely but surely approaching mid-day, the next stop was for lunch at now my favorite restaurant in Piedmont: La Ciau del Tornavento.
Started lunch with a beautiful Ca’ del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi 2005, a brilliant sparkling methode traditionelle made wine where it seems you have everything one would expect: intense and complex nose filled with fine pastry, vanilla bean, ripe citrus fruit and white apricot, creamy and vibrant on the palate, with a long finish.
Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2007 is liquid poetry. There is nothing out of place here. It is so pure in its aromas where it starts delicate with fragrant aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit, sweet spices and rose petals, and then starts to get deep and profound with savory notes of undergrowth and leather. Very silky in the mouth, but with so intense and pure flavors of red fruit, tar, spices and truffles. Finish is endless. There is grace and refinement in this wine. (99/100)
I can not think of a better corresponding wine from Tuscany than the 2010 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino that we had after. You can find the same Burgundian character in the Sangiovese as the Giacosa, but in a less refined way and a more powerful feel.
Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2010 is surprisingly already singing from the glass. It has purity of red spicy fruit, with a velvety mouth feel and a long and intense finish. Really beautiful wine. Take the best producer and the exceptional 2010 vintage and you have a winner. (96/100)
Food was amazing again at La Ciau del Tornavento, all dishes are flawless and the wine pairing just made this lunch probably the most notable for me for 2015.
Pastry and dessert were served outside on the sunny terrace, where we enjoyed an unexpected 17 Celsius degrees and a bottle of 2004 Ca’ del Bosco Annamaria Clementi Rose. Its coppery color, its savory aromatics and the richness and intensity you can find on the palate are just amazing. It deserves its place in the class of grand rose sparkling of the world. (94/100)
After such a fulfilling 4 hours lunch it was time to hit the road and head to Turin for an official reception organized by the Romanian consulate. The sun setting at the end of the meal is still fresh in my mind.
The final chapter of this trip was dinner in Turin where a Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004 showed once again that Italy can make stunning sparkling wine. Gold color with rich mousse in the glass, it is rich, bold and fresh. (94/100)
Another stunning Nebbiolo made wine was the 2008 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato, a wine of sheer class and refinement. All its characteristics make you think about the Grandest Cru of Burgundy. It’s pure, fresh and profound, silky in the mouth and really intellectual. (97/100)
Next to a medium-rare pigeon dish, it was the most supreme wine-food experience for me for 2015 and as far as I can remember. I would recommend it to be put on the technical sheet of this wine. It is simply perfect. For this pairing I am giving 100/100.