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WINES BY REGION

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Gaja

gaja-sign.jpgOne of the world's great producers, Gaja was established in 1859, and the sixth generation of the family, led by the beautiful Gaia Gaja, is currently taking over from the dynamic Angelo, who single-handedly lifted Gaja's reputation to where it is today.

Angelo's goal is to produce unique wines that have character and personality, and that express their origin.  Drawing fruit from around 100 hectares of estate-owned vineyards (no fruit is purchased) throughout Barbaresco and Barolo.  Apart from the traditional Nebbiolo and Barbera, Gaja also have small plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot.  The flagship wine is the Barbaresco, and is entirely Nebbiolo (hence entitled to the Barbaresco DOCG).  However the five single-vineyard wines (three within Barbaresco - Sori San Lorenzo, Sori Tilden and Costa Russi - and two within Barolo - Sperss and Conteisa) all have small amounts (around 5%) of Barbera that is co-planted in the vineyards and blended in.  Although it is believed that many Barbareschi and Baroli in fact do contain small amounts of Barbera, this is not permitted under the DOCG regulations, and in the late 1990s Angelo made the decision to 'declassify' his wines to the lower Langhe DOC - despite the wines being considered amongst the very best produced in Barbaresco and Barolo.  Not to mention being some of the most expensive!angelo-gaja.jpg

In the 1960s Angelo began to reduce crop levels and yields, increasing the concentration of the wines, and therefore producing better quality.  Today the fruit is crushed and destemmed before being fermented in tank and 70 year-old Slovenian botti for up to three weeks.  Malolactic fermentations are completed in barrique (a mix of new, one year-old and two year-old) and the wine ages for one year in barrique, a year in cask, and a further one or two years in bottle prior to release.

Gaja's wines have an uncommon ability to age superbly for lengthy periods of time - certainly at least two decades or more - and are unquestionably not just world-class wines, but benchmark wines from Piedmont.