Influential wine critic and Italian wine specialist James Sucklinghas recognized GAJA Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo 2017 with a score of 99 points and the #52 position on his Top 100 Wines of 2020.
99 points #52, Top 100 Wines of 2020 GAJA Sori San Lorenzo 2017 “The aromas of fresh rose petals are amazing with strawberries and citrus underneath. Full-bodied and layered with a complete, very linear and long finish. It turns tight and very serious at the end. Please give this at least five years to show it’s potential.”
Pictet Wealth Management featured the Gaja family in the May 1, 2020 edition of Perspectives, in the article The Success of Gaja’s Winery is Built Around Tradition and Innovation: In Conversation with Gaia, Lucia, Rossana, Angelo, and Giovanni. The article was accompanied by the video Multi-Generational Wealth, Gaja.
“As the fifth generation of the family prepares to take on the mantle of running the business, they’re looking to replicate their father’s willingness to always do things differently.
The labels that adorn the bottles from the Gaja winery in northwest Italy are unusually simple, merely displaying the name of the winery, the name of the wine, and the vintage. However, they weren’t always so minimalist. In fact, a look back through the vineyard’s archive of old bottles, dating as far back as the nineteenth century, shows that these labels were once festooned with medals, award crests, and lots of intricate decoration.
My grandfather started the process of taking away the medals and the awards,” says Gaia Gaja. “In the end, he gave more importance to another aspect of the label: his name.” In this way, she says, the labels are a bit like the wines themselves. “The idea is to arrive at an essence of design or an essence of style,” she explains. “Real luxury is taking away what is superficial and unneeded, and getting to the essence of things.” “
100 points GAJA Sperss 2016 “The golden touch, that proverbial Gaja magic, is taken to a whole new level in the 2016 Barolo Sperss. Angelo Gaja has taught his children to follow their own path, and now that the generational switch is well underway at the family estate, we can see that Gaia, Rossana and Giovanni have done him proud. Very proud. This stunning expression from the 2016 vintage (with 16,000 bottles released) represents quite a few celebratory milestones. We are now in the fifth generation to protect the Gaja legacy in an unbroken family chain that has endured since 1859. This wine is 100% Nebbiolo, and since the 2013 vintage, it is part of the Barolo DOCG appellation. Winemaking has been tweaked to embrace a more elegant, ethereal and streamlined personality, instead of the bigger extraction we saw in the past. This upgraded identity is distinctly evident in this newest release of Sperss. Starting with appearance, the wine is luminous and bright with shiny ruby and garnet gemstone. Its aromatic reach is three-dimensional with width, height and depth. Delicate berry tones cede to pressed lilac, anise, sandalwood and cardamom spice. I double decanted and left the bottle open for a few hours before my tasting. The results are tight and gentle, and the wine shows beautiful vertical lift and intensity. To achieve this much power without the excess fruit weight is really quite an accomplishment. This is the magic of Nebbiolo, and the magic of Gaja.”
“The Gaja 2018 Langhe Gaia & Rey is a beautifully pure Piemontese expression of Chardonnay. It opens to a light gold/straw color with brilliant luminosity. This vintage is delicate but determined, powerful but fragile all at the same time. The bouquet is shy to start off and requires (at this young stage when I tasted the wine) ample time to aerate. Once it unwinds, the wine offers fresh citrus, orchard fruit, toasted almond and spice. Only partial malolactic fermentation is completed, so the wine’s energy and inner nerve is very much intact. Flint and mineral play important supporting roles.”
“The Gaja 2017 Barbaresco is nuanced and delicate with ever-expanding aromatic intensity that amply fills the balloon of your glass. The wine takes a little while to open fully, and it slowly releases forest berry, powdered licorice, toasted aniseed, spearmint, dried lavender and rosemary essence to build a lasting bouquet. The mouthfeel is streamlined and almost steely, with an extremely linear approach that adds to its length and persistency. The tannins are tucked into the wine’s delicate fiber, but you do feel the extra textural firmness of the hot vintage nonetheless. As we have seen in past vintages, more definition is added by a pretty mineral note that is a common thread in these wines from Gaja.”
The Gaja family was profiled by Decanter in the April 12, 2020 article Gaja: A Family Portraitwritten by Tiziano Gaia.
“Through undeniably audacious viticultural decisions, this fifth-generation winemaking dynasty elevated Barbaresco to fine-wine status. Now, the patriarch of Piedmont and his family are ushering in a new era for their business, with ambitious projects – and a healthy dose of compromise, as Tiziano Gaia discovers.”
Jeb Dunnuckhas awarded a score of 94 points to GAJA Gaia & Rey 2017.
94 points GAJA Gaia & Rey 2017
“The 2017 Gaia & Ray reminds me of a top Sonoma Coast Chardonnay with is incredible salty minerality as well as classic Chardonnay notes of stone fruits, caramelized pineapple, white flowers, and hints of baking spices. Rich, medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, it’s a beautiful and classy white well worth drinking and cellaring. First released in 1983, this cuvee is named after Lucia and Angelo Gaja’s daughter, Gaia Gaja, and Angelo Gaja’s grandmother Clotilde Rey.”
Jeb Dunnuck has awarded a score of 90 points to GAJA Alteni di Brassica 2017.
90 points GAJA Alteni di Brassica 2017
“First released in 1983 (as was the Gaia & Ray Chardonnay), the 2017 Langhe Alteni di Brassica is a mineral-driven, bright, and juicy expression of Sauvignon Blanc that offers terrific notes of crushed citrus, green herbs, lime, and subtle hints of tart pineapple. With bright acidity, medium body, and terrific balance, it’s an incredibly classy Sauvignon Blanc that’s terrific today, yet I suspect will age gracefully for at least 5-7 years if you’re so inclined.”
“This wine was first made in 1983, and back then, no malolactic fermentation occurred. Jump forward in time to the 2017 Langhe Gaia & Rey, and this is another vintage in which malo did not start. (Partial malolactic returns in 2018). Since those first years of production, the oak usage has also been tweaked, now with less barrique in favor of more botte grande. Thanks to these changes, the aromatic profile of this wine veers toward citrus and rich tropical fruit, especially in a warm vintage such as this. However counterintuitive, this edition also shows a very bright and precise touch of acidity that serves to give the wine balanced and mouth-cleansing salinity.”
“The 2017 Langhe Alteni di Brassica (a pure expression of Sauvignon Blanc) offers tonic freshness, zesty citrus, white peach and crushed oyster shell. The harvest came early in this hot growing season with the grapes coming off the vines as early as August 17th. That early picking date served to keep the aromas fresh and the fruit crunchy. Gaia Gaja tells me that the fruit was super concentrated in this vintage, and the clusters were so small she called them “bonsai grapes.” In addition to the concentrated aromas, the wine also shows a level of freshness that comes as a very pleasant surprise. Evidently, the acidity was also concentrated into those tiny berries.”