This recently acquired Italian cellar has us trilling with excitement. The offering's surpassing breadth and quality are buoyed by ideal cellaring conditions, marking this out as a singular collectible opportunity. In keeping focus squarely on the wines offered, I'll keep commentary brief.
Angelo Gaja joined the family business in 1961, since when he has become the leading voice in promoting Piedmontese wines on the world's vinous stage. He is a true visionary and, more concretely, an innovator whose pioneering efforts in the region have introduced practices including green harvesting and single-vineyard designated wines. It is difficult to imagine a Piedmont without its Bruno Giacosa; it is simply impossible to imagine it absent of Angelo Gaja.
The style has always been fleshy and concentrated, though the wines are directed by properly high acidity and virile tannins, Nebbiolo's twin structural pillars. There has always been good definition despite the obvious opulence. Above all, the wines age superbly in ideal conditions, in many instances marking genuinely high points among the region's wines.
This offer amounts to a time capsule back to the early years of Angelo's tenure, including the inaugural vintages of multiple cuvées. It's worth noting that, pragmatically, winemaking has always been the same, with all Barbareschi spending one year in barrique (mostly used) followed by a second year in botti.
A few notes about the cuvées below:
The Barbaresco normale is a blend of 14 parcels. It has always been conceptualized as a peer of the single vineyards, i.e. not an 'entry level' offering. Angelo Gaja's 1996 decision to 'declassify' the single vineyards and bottle them as Langhe Nebbiolo reflects this view, as the move aimed to flatten unintended hierarchical distinction between this and the single cru wines.
The Sori Tildin was first bottled in 1970 (included in this offer). It issues from the Roncagliette Vineyard and often presents as the most streamlined and tannic when young. Mature examples can be sublime in a decidedly more mid-weight, finessed style. Costa Russi, first bottled in 1978, is also from a parcel within the larger Roncagliette Vineyard, though lower lying. It is usually softer and fleshier, and oftenest the best candidate for drinking young.
Sori San Lorenzo dates to 1967 (included in this offer), and in many vintages presents as the most explosive, powerful, and long-lived of the single vineyards. Though my experience with fully mature examples is relatively limited, my profoundest Gaja experiences proportionally been with Sori San Lorenzo. Power and elegance, sweet and savory, they are all here. It is a wine of strong and determined individuation.
I will end with underscoring the uniqueness of this offer. It's simply unlikely you'll see a producer-specific offer with quite this quality and comprehensiveness again soon.