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Average critic rating : 91.5 points



The 2001 Darmagi is impressive. Darmagi is Gaja’s most vintage sensitive red, but the 2001 is truly superb. Dark cherries, plums, bell peppers, sweet herbs and licorice are nicely layered in this vibrant, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2001 Darmagi brings together the characteristics of cool-climate Cabernet and an extroverted personality that are very nicely balanced. The 2001 is still very much on the young side, although it can be enjoyed today. I am amazed at how well the 2001 has developed over the years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021. ||Angelo Gaja isn’t the talkative type too often these days. Most of the time I am greeted, left alone in a room to taste, and then greeted again before I leave. On this day, though, Gaja started talking about vintages, and in particular the misconception that wines from hot years don’t age. Gaja cited 1961, a warm year in Piedmont, and one of the most legendary at the time. The wines aged just fine, added Gaja. What struck me most, though, was how clear Gaja’s recollection was of events that transpired fifty years ago. I know only one other person in Piedmont who has a similarly sharp memory that goes that far back. What does that have to do with these 2001s? Not much, except that it seemed like an interesting anecdote to share., 2012



The rich and concentrated 2001 Darmagi (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) displays an almost impenetrable dark ruby color along with classic varietal notes of bell pepper and cassis on the nose. It is dense and packed, with plenty of blackberry and plum flavors, excellent length and a spicy note of crushed black pepper on the finish. Although an enjoyable wine, it comes across as heavy and somewhat dull, lacking the elegance and gracefulness that define this producer’s best wines in 2001. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2021. Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate # 167.

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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