2012 Barbaresco Angelo Gaja

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Average critic rating : 91.0 points



The 2012 Barbaresco shows different DNA from its previous incarnations. Angelo Gaja usually blends fruit from 14 vineyard sites to make this wine. Starting with this vintage, he has opted to reduce that number to eight vineyards instead. The change is subtle, but you can taste it. At this young stage in the wine's life I was unsure of the results. This Barbaresco is more austere, thorny and nervous compared to the super supple and rich vintages of the immediate past. The nose shows dark fruit follow by cola, garden herb and white pepper. The mouthfeel is silky and firm and edgy. ||My meeting with Angelo and Gaia Gaja revealed a few surprises including a fascinating look at the 1996 Langhe Gaia & Rey Chardonnay tasted from magnum. Gaja's long-time winemaker, Guido Rivella retired last year. He had consulted with the Gaja family since 1970 and today Alessandro Albarello has taken over as winemaker. One subtle change in approach concerns the DOCG Barbaresco. In the past, the wine represented a blend of fruit from 14 vineyards. With the 2012 edition, that number has been taken down to eight instead in an effort to better underline the wine's territorial identity. Gaia Gaja describes this break from tradition as "a very difficult decision" to make. eRobertParker.com.June, 2015

The wines of Angelo Gaja have been at the forefront of Piedmont for many years. An ancient family domaine established in the 1850s, the business was revolutionised by Angelo when he joined in 1961, bringing methods and a philosophy that were decades ahead of their time.

Taking full control of the family business in 1970, Gaja has been a pioneer ever since, and his Barbarescos are the famous wines of the region. Indeed you could say that Gaja put Barbaresco on the map.

More of a modernist than many of his neighbours, Gaja’s wines are polished, pure and precise. In youth they can often be inpenetrably faultless; with age they are peerless. The single vineyard wines – Costa Russi, Sori Tildin and Sori San Lorenzo cannot be called Barbaresco despite their vineyard sites: a dash of Barbera in these wines, which adds just a touch of plumpness to the Nebbiolo, breaks just one of the numerous rules imposed on the winemakers of Piedmont that Mr Gaja views as an impediment to making his extraordinary wines.

A genius for sure, Angelo Gaja cannot be faulted for what he puts in the bottle. Robert Parker

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