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Tasting Notes

Tasting notes
FINE+RARE, Jul 2020

"A fine vintage for Barbaresco, against the odds”. The odds were frost and hail in April that reduced crop size from the start, followed by an extraordinarily warm and dry growing season. The hot summer made producers fear overripe fruit and high alcohol levels, but Gaia Gaja explains that because of the consistency throughout the year, the vines miraculously adjusted and never got stressed, protecting themselves from over-productiveness. The berries were small and thick-skinned, yielding little juice, but producing superb concentration of acids and perfectly ripe tannins. Leaves were also small, which limited sugar production and resulted in balanced wines. The tannin structure and acidity lending strong support to the fruit at this stage suggest an ample life expectancy for these wines. Gaia says, “the wines may not be as juicy as 2016, but the best have good ageing potential”, with Gaja’s certainly counting among the best. Great wines, then, with “the only drawback was that the crop was rather small” (Decanter). With production volumes down 30% for Gaja and some challenging vintages on the horizon (in both 2018 and 2019 the heat of the vintage was more drastic and the family will be bottling no single vineyards from these vintages – the 2018 village Barbaresco will be a much lighter, more classic Barbaresco), the 2017 vintage is likely to be keenly sought out by followers of the estate. Super saturated, bright ruby red. The nose is perfumed and expressive, with black cherries, liquorice, dark, warm stone and lots of black brambly fruit. Further aromas of ripe strawberries and roses, pomegranate and blood orange, emerge with air. The tannins are lovely and firm – just starting to melt away, but still very present. There is fresh acidity and a lick of saltiness on the finish. Although approachable now and very enjoyable in its sumptuousness, with age it will inevitably develop greater intricacy and detail– complementing the superb structure of this impressive wine.

Critic Scores

Critic scores
93
92-94/100

Richard Juhlin

More reviews and scores

92 - 94 points
Richard Juhlin
Score 92-94/100 · Richard Juhlin, Jul 2020

The 2017 Barbaresco is a gorgeous example of the year. Sweet, perfumed and light on its feet, the 2017 offers an intriguing mélange of cedar, pipe tobacco, dried cherry, mint and incense nuances, with terrific freshness and the slightly nervous edge that runs through all of these wines.

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About the producer

Gaja 1:1
Gaja

Gaja has been at the forefront of the Piedmont wine scene for many years and is Barbaresco’s most decorated producer. The winery has received a record number of Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri awards – the highest accolade from Italy’s leading wine publication.

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