Skip to content

Posts from the ‘tasting notes’ Category

Wine Advocate Scores (June 2013)

Wine Advocate
June 2013 #207

Just a short while ago, in the midst of one of Italy’s darkest political hours when forming a functioning government seemed like an exercise in futility, someone sent me a Facebook petition proposing Angelo Gaja as a candidate for President of the Republic of Italy. Although Angelo himself would brush it off as jest, that seedling of a (good) idea took the Internet by firestorm. What he has demonstrated over the years, besides from his infectious enthusiasm and keen ability to communicate his thoughts with brilliant clarity and gumption, is a natural ability for leadership. Barbaresco is lucky to have an Angelo Gaja, the Langhe is lucky to have him, and Italy is, too.

—Monica Larner

GAJA 2010 Barbaresco
94 points

Smack from the start, the 2010 Barbaresco shows full-on Gajissimo personality with irresistible opulence and intensity, magically contrasted against remarkable smoothness and finesse. Everyone wants to know his secret. The wine delivers seductively rich concentration and integrated oak that is offset by a delicate portfolio of chiseled mineral, dried berry fruit, Spanish cedar, crushed herb, anisette and blue flower. Fruit is sourced from 14 vineyards in Barbaresco. It already leaves a mark, but will reward those who wait. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028.

GAJA 2009 Barolo Sperss
95 points

The 2009 Sperss sees fruit sourced from Serralunga d’Alba and those telltale signs of the territory are definitely on full display. The power, added structure and thicker density of the wine speak to this corner of the Barolo denomination. Bold cherry and spice are rounded off by leather, tobacco and a touch of toasted Alba hazelnut. The finish is soft and caressing even at this young stage, yet the wine still needs more time to evolve. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.

GAJA 2009 Conteisa
96 points

The 2009 Conteisa sees fruit harvested from the Cerequio cru in La Morra and is one of two “Barolo-inspired” wines made by the Gaja family. A small percentage of Barbera is added to the blend. Very expressive of the cru, Conteisa opens with a beautifully floral footprint of pressed rose and blue violets followed by bright cherry, cassis, chopped mint, licorice, tar, ginger and delicately smoked cedar. Again, the complexity is mind-blowing. The wine glides effortlessly over the palate, but make no mistake, that tight, tannic austerity kicks in at the back. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040.

GAJA 2010 Costa Russi
95 points

The 2010 Costa Russi is a vineyard-designate “Barbaresco” (although the wine’s addition of five percent Barbera prohibits it from being called such) that opens to even more profound depth and generosity. As is typical of this cru expression, the wine displays an amazing assortment of aromas that span from the floral to the spicy. Supple, round and seductive, it caresses the palate in the most beautiful fashion. The 2010 vintage is shaping up handsomely for those who collect Gaja’s best bottles. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035.

GAJA 2010 Sorì San Lorenzo
98 points

A banner wine for Gaja, the 2010 Sori San Lorenzo brings the infinite and ethereal aromas associated with Nebbiolo into startling focus and clarity. Again, like the Sori Tildin, the structure and tannic firmness of the wine will carry the wine forward over the years and decades ahead. It demands much more time until it fully blossoms. I walked through the San Lorenzo vineyard with Gaia Gaja and she showed me some of their recent activity. Every second row is planted with barley that acts as a natural rototiller given its aggressive root system. Borrowing other “New World” ideas, they’ve started compost piles with Californian red worms and are using (with less success, I’m told) wooden tree boxes to repopulate the birds. All of this must seem very odd to the neighbors. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040.

GAJA 2010 Sorì Tildin
96+ points

Gaia Gaja uses the word “salty” to describe this next wine, and I see her point. The 2010 Sori Tildin shows a dry, firmly structured quality that enhances those extraordinary, breezy overtones of lead pencil and brimstone that so fittingly frame the Nebbiolo grape. The lingering end-notes of rose petal, ginger and cedar are striking. You immediately feel the tannic structure and power of the wine. The jump is very sharp next to the Costa Russi, and that’s why this is one of Gaja’s best cellar-agers. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040.

Wine Spectator: 90 points for Magari

From Wine Spectator “Insider”, February 2013.

magari marcanda wine spectator

Angelo Gaja’s notes on Langhe vintages, 1958-2011

Terlato Wines International recently asked a writer to sit down with Angelo Gaja and record his notes and memories from Langhe vintages stretching back to the 1958. Not only did the transcript of their conversation generate fascinating technical observations, it also delivered unexpected insights, surprising revelations, and highly personal anecdotes from Gaja’s life as a grape grower and winemakers. The unedited transcript follows.

Please click here to contact a Terlato media representative.

1958 – A very good vintage but not as good as 1961.

1960 – Bad weather and a very poor vintage. Cool summer and thick fog during harvest. We don’t have weather like that anymore because of global warming. The fog was like milk, 5-10 meters thick. And we had rain during harvest as well. The conditions didn’t allow the grapes to become fully ripe.

1961 – The first important vintage, with alcohol levels reaching fourteen and fifteen percent. But to repeat this, we had to wait another ten years.

1962 – Very good vintage with good crop but not large like 1964. The quality was good, very good. Not at the level of 1961. But very good.

The wine writers didn’t recognize the quality of the vintage because 1961 was so good.

1963 – Difficult vintage with low quality. It rained during harvest time and few terroirs were capable of producing good quality.

1964 – A large crop, one of the largest. Conditions in autumn were perfect. Growers could leave the grapes on the vine to become ripe and harvest went on until mid-November. A long harvest and a large crop in terms of quality. It wasn’t like 1961 but the quality of 1964 was quite good.

1965, 1966, and 1968 — Very difficult vintages. Some cru were able to produce good quality wine. But they represented 10% of the total production. Perhaps even less.

Both 1965 and 1966 were nearly disasters because of rain.

1967 – A little bit lower quality but a good vintage.

1968 – Very difficult vintage, not dramatic, but difficult [see previous note for 1965, 1966, and 1968].

1969 – Average vintage. A little bit better than average for certain cru.

1970 – Finally another good vintage. A very good vintage obscured by 1971. There was an idea among wine writers in Italy at that time that Piedmont could produce a great vintage only once every ten years. They weren’t ready to accept that Piedmont could have two great vintages two years in a row. And this is what happened in 1970. Their idea was that there could be only one great vintage and so they believed the others were low quality.

At that time the power was in the hands of the owners of the wine shops. They were the critics. They had the reputation. Restaurateurs and even collectors were more capable than the wine writers.

We had Veronelli. He was able to write good books. But they were sold in small numbers. The impact of wine writers was important but not as much as today

1971 – A great vintage. In 1971, the difference between the best and the bad exposure wasn’t very great.

1972 – The vintage was a disaster. It rained for 15 days during harvest. I believe that a bad decision was made. At that time, more than 80 percent of the harvest was sold to négociants (mediatori in Italian). Less than 20% was vinified by the growers themselves. The négociants didn’t want to pay for the grapes because the quality wasn’t there and so they pushed the chamber of commerce to declassify the vintage. And it was declassified after the harvest. And so it was not possible to take advantage of what good fruit there was. It was a bad choice and it has never been repeated. The price collapsed and the grape growers were not able to cover their costs. They were the ones who suffered the most. Wineries can recoup their costs from other vintages. This decision was only made once and in my opinion it was a mistake.

1973 – An average vintage. Low quality. The best terroirs showed their best ability in mid-level quality. In vintages like this, the quality of the cru is three to four times as good as the Barbaresco.

The 1973 vintage helped to show us the ability of vineyards with the best exposure. Some crus are very good, not outstanding, but quite good.

1974 – This vintage was celebrated as a great vintage but in fact it was a good vintage, with a large crop. It was close to 1964 but less quality. The crop was large. The harvest time was very long and lasted through November.

1975, 1976, 1977 – Low quality, poor vintages. Difficult vintages because of the rain. There was rain during the spring, a cold summer, and it rained during harvest.

1978 – Finally, 1978 was a celebrated vintage, a great vintage. Indeed, it was a special vintage. The grapes ripened very slowly.

It was a very closed vintage and difficult to understand. It only began to discover its quality after fifteen or twenty years. It took time. This was a type of miracle that Nebbiolo can sometimes do. Vintages considered medium quality can show a better wine than we are expecting. Some vintages are like this.

In 1996, everybody was waiting for a great vintage. But it is probably not as good as we expected. Sometimes, it can be that a vintage does not deliver.

1979 – Another average-plus vintage, a little bit overlooked. In 1978, there was a lot of brouhaha, a lot of words. 1978 followed three difficult vintages and so there was a little bit of exaggeration. It took fifteen years for it to explode.

1980-1981 – In 1980 and 1981, we refused to bottle. It was a disaster. We declassified GAJA wines. And in 1981, we vinified only 25% of the crop. I remember that we started the harvest at the end of October and by November 3rd we had snow that completely covered the vineyard. We had to wait nine to ten days for the snow to melt. But the grapes were not ripe. Harvest was over by November 15 or 17. But it was so late.

1982 – Another beautiful vintage, finally, with balance. A vintage of harmony, an excellent combination of finesse and power for Barbaresco.

1983 – Another difficult vintage. It was important to choose the right date. There was a rain of four days. Some producers harvested too early. Those who waited after the rain had greater quantity. The quality became better but not great. It was possible for there to be a lot of difference in quality.

1984 – Another disaster. We didn’t bottle again. There was rain during harvest time.

1985 – Another celebrated vintage, close to 1978 but more sun than 1978. In the beginning, the wine was closed and had aggressive tannins. But after 1984 and 1983, there was a large celebration for this vintage.

1986 – Average plus.

1987 – Very difficult because of rain. A half disaster.

1988 – Good level of quality. A lot of enthusiasm after 1987 and so it received a lot of attention. But it wasn’t of the level of 1989 and 1990.

1989 – I believe that 1989 is a beautiful vintage. The vintage is not prized because 1989 was good only in Piedmont and principally in the Langhe. It rained in Italy a lot in October and November. In Piedmont, we had a cloudy time for almost fifteen days. It rained in Cuneo, in Switzerland, and partially in Asti. But not in the Langhe. We were crossing our fingers. The sun started again after fifteen days and we had sun through October to the beginning of November.

Perfectly ripe. The vintage was obscured by 1990, of course.

1990 – This was a very good vintage. The quality isn’t lower. The vintage was good on the planet. The emphasis is on 1990.

Especially in Italy, I have had the chance to drink many 1989s because price was higher for the 1990s so the restaurateurs kept the 1989s.

The 1990 vintage is probably the first that there was a concentration of foreign writers with interest in Italy, in general for Italy.

Better scores were given to artisan producers after 1986. The interest of wine writers began to grow. Until then, the ambassadors of Italian wine were sommeliers.

1991 – Difficult vintage, low quality.

1992 – A disaster. We declassified completely. A big sacrifice that I learned from my father.

1993 – An average vintage. There was some difference because of the crus but 90% was average.

1994 – Half disaster. We declassified fifty percent of the crop because of rain.

1995 – This is the year that we can say global warming began. 1995 or 1996.

It was not so great as we considered in the beginning. Everyone was talking well about 1995 because it followed the disaster of 1992 and 1994.

1996 – Close to harvest time, we were skeptical about quality and we had the impression that the berries were too big. There was too much rain but there were some promising signs.

It is important in my work to walk in the vineyards fifteen to twenty days before harvest and to taste the grapes. Analysis is important, yes. But you cannot rely exclusively on technology and exclude the producers. Walking in the vinyeards in harvest time and tasting and squeezing the berries to see their color.

In 1996, the juice had a very deep color, not unusual for Nebbiolo, and the color of the seeds was perfect.

I believe that 99 was more classical but 96 was unusal… because the majority were NOT expecting quality…

The wine showed very well in the cellar. It created all this expectation but when you retaste the wine, not all the promises are there. It was considered a classic vintage but the ripening process was not as perfect as we expected. It may be that we need to keep it in the cellar and wait to have the wine in the end.

1997 – This is a vintage that we had five weeks with hot weather, 32° C. This had never happened before. This vintage signaled the beginning of climate change.

The quality can be different in 1997 because some producers were unprepared to ferment high sugar levels and the grapes were coming to the winery very hot because even during harvest the weather was hot.

There were wines that had stuck fermentation and residual sugar. High volatile acidity. Some wines were not at a high level. But the large majority were beautiful. Much more approachable and with a new character.

In the restaurant, the wines were easy to drink and gave a lot of satisfaction. I remember that we quickly sold our 1997.

It also signaled the first conflict among the America and European wine writers. The Americans welcomes it as “the greatest vintage made in Piedmont.”

It was actually an unusual vintage in its approachability and its pleasure. It had perfectly integrated tannins. Not sweetness. But it was similar to sweetness. We had only had this in 1961 and 1971. Not residual sugar but the consequence of perfect ripening.

“This is a vintage that will last a lot of time,” said American wine writers. The European writers said this is a mistake. Yes, it’s an unusual vintage, never seen before. But it is too early to judge and to say that it will be able to keep for a very long time. This is a mistake by American writers who don’t know enough.

The 1997 is good but not as good as has been described and it will not be able to age thirty or forty years.

1998 – 1998 is one of my favorite vintages. It is a vintage of balance, beautiful balance. But after 1996 and 1997, 1998 was forgotten. But it is one of the most drinkable wines in the last thirty years. Excellent balance. Perfect to match with food. Because Piedmont produces food wines.

1999 – A classic vintage, very good. Rough tannin in the beginning but it’s now beginning to open.

2000 – This vintage was celebrated as a great vintage. With three zeros, it was easy to sell. Some 2000s still have aggressive tannins, others less. A very good vintage.

It was hot and so some of the tannins are a little bit dry and need cellaring and are probably not ready to drink.

It may give us the surprise of 1978.

Before 1995, it never happened. Global warming has helped to establish a reputation of Piedmontese wines not only for Nebbiolo but also for Barbera. Especially before 1995, the acidity was outrageous, often very high. Now the ripening process is better and better and it’s easier to have balanced wines.

2001 – Beautiful.

2002 – The only difficult vintage in the 2000s.

2003-2011 – The climate change created high ripening and a complete ripening process with fantastic regularity. This was never seen before.

Before climate change, the only vintages that were perfectly ripe were 1961, 1964, 1971, 1982. Then, the grapes were often unable to naturally reach 12 and 12.5% alcohol level. That’s not a parameter to judge quality. But in those years, many vintages did not reach even 12%.

Now with global warming, it is easy to reach 13 and 14%. In Barolo and in Serralunga, now even 15%.

2003 – Most difficult vintage. Nine weeks of very hot weather. We decided to declassify almost 50%. We are quite happy with the 2003 we have in the market. Not a great vintage but a very honorable vintage.

2004 – Another vintage close to 1964. Good crop and a good combination of harmony. Good harmony. Close to 1962 and close to 1982. More to 1964.

2005-2011 – All good vintages. For Barbaresco, 2008 was a winning vintage of elegance. 2010 similar to 2008. But the differences between vintages is not as evident as in the past.

Steve Tanzer Gaja Profile, Notes, and Scores

Gaja

By Stephen Tanzer

Angelo Gaja is well aware of the conflicting currents that are making production of rich, high-alcohol wines increasingly tricky. “Global warming started to show its effect in 1996,” he told me. “We had very big wines in earlier vintages like 1971, 1961 and 1947, but now those kinds of vintages are much more common. The question we haven’t been able to answer yet is: will more intensity of heat and light have an influence on the longevity of our wines? And of course, the more consumers insist on lower alcohol levels in their wines, the more the wines will have to be manipulated. Let us do our jobs as growers and winemakers.” In recent years, like a number of his colleagues in the Langhe hills, Gaja has been green harvesting in a series of passes through the vines so as not to overdo this step in warm years when the fruit would be very likely to reach sufficient ripeness without cutting crop levels in mid-summer. Gaja is slow to pass judgment on new vintages and he’s still assessing 2009, which he describes as “not a big vintage like 2007. Maybe it’s more like 2008, which is a very interesting year, elegant and balanced but with less body than 2007.” Two thousand eleven, he added, has been difficult for the dolcetto and barbera as there was a lot of drying of the grapes in the late-summer heat.

2008 Gaja Chardonnay Gaia & Rey Langhe
Bright full yellow. Deeper, soil-inflected nose. Sweet on entry, then spicy, honeyed and quite dry in the middle, with more penetration and less baby fat than the 2009 offering. Strong suggestion of earthy terroir. A more nutty style than the 2009 but gained in freshness and grip with aeration.

90 points

2008 Gaja Sauvignon Blanc Alteni di Brassica
Bright yellow. Subdued, pure aromas of grapefruit pith, tarragon and white pepper. At once denser and more energetic than the 2009, conveying an impression of firmer acidity. Finishes long and brisk, with a positive bitterness.

91 points

2009 Gaja Barbaresco
Good full bright red. Soil-driven aromas of sour cherry, pomegranate, minerals and leather, lifted by treble notes of flowers and white fruits. Dense and nicely filled in, with a restrained sweetness and enticing minty lift contributing to the impression of vibrancy. Finishes quite long, with substantial tongue-dusting tannins. This is excellent.

92 points

2009 Gaja Nebbiolo Costa Russi Langhe
Good medium red. Very ripe, almost liqueur-like aromas of plum and nuts; lower-pitched than the 2009 Barbaresco classico. Fat, sweet and filled in but less expressive today than the Barbaresco. Plenty of flesh and backbone. Here the tannins arrive later and build. Seems the ripest of these 2009s.

93 points

2009 Gaja Nebbiolo Sori Tildin Langhe
Good full medium red. Inviting aromas of plum, redcurrant, dark raspberry, smoked meat and minerals, with lively floral lift. Then juicy and tight on entry, conveying a stronger impression of acidity but less early sweetness than the Costa Russi. There’s plenty of alcohol here but also terrific depth of dark fruit, especially on the long back end. Serious tannins arrive late and give this suave wine a strong backbone for aging.

94 points

2009 Gaja Nebbiolo Sori San Lorenzo Langhe
Good full red. Pungent aromas of maraschino cherry, minerals, smoke and camphor; the most Barolo-like of Gaja’s 2009s from the Barbaresco zone. The thickest and most concentrated too, sweet and mouthfilling but very backward. The combination of sheer stuffing and medicinal reserve along with fine-grained, dusty tannins and outstanding persistence suggests that this plump but youthful wine will age slowly and well.

95 points

2008 Gaja Barbaresco
Medium red with a hint of amber at the edge. Soil-driven aromas of red fruits, mocha, smoke, underbrush and dried rose. Sweet, plush, seamless and elegant; distinctly suaver than the 2009, with the dried flower element lifting the mid-palate. Lovely nuanced wine, finishing long and serious, with broad, ripe, building tannins and very good grip.

93 points

2008 Gaja Nebbiolo Costa Russi Langhe
Good medium red. Reticent nose hints at strawberry, raspberry, mocha and smoke. Fresh and nicely delineated, with silky-sweet flavors of dark raspberry and spices. Intensely flavored wine with a captivating sugar/acid balance. Finishes with firm, building tannins and lovely juicy cut. I find this more vibrant and classic than the 2009.

94(?+) points

2008 Gaja Nebbiolo Sori Tildin Langhe
Good medium red. Lower-toned on the nose than the Costa Russi, offering musky aromas of smoke, truffle and minerals. Sweet and firm on the palate, showing very good supporting acidity but less flavor definition than the Costa Russi. Here the substantial dusty tannins are not yet as integrated with the wine’s fruit. This will need at least five or six years of cellaring.

93(+?) points

2008 Gaja Nebbiolo Sori San Lorenzo Langhe
Good medium red. Perfumed nose combines minerals, rose petal, menthol, spices and herbs. The tightest of these 2008s, but already displaying outstanding energy and precision to its intense dark fruit and floral flavors. The firm, late-arriving tannins are perfectly supported by strong dark fruits on the back end. This wonderfully juicy wine boasts a near-perfect balance for extended aging. A knockout in the making.
96(+?) points

2008 Gaja Nebbiolo Conteisa Langhe
Good medium red. Aromatic nose of cherry liqueur, raspberry, mocha and camphor lifted by fresh red raspberry and mint and complicated by roasted herbs and a whiff of peach. Lush and seamless on entry, then big and spicy in the middle, with a restrained sweetness to its dark fruit flavors. The huge but harmonious tannins are slow to make their presence felt, eventually coating the teeth and melting into the wine’s fruit.

94-95 points

2008 Gaja Nebbiolo Sperss Langhe
Good full, deep red. Compelling perfume of musky strawberry, wild game, smoky minerality and underbrush. Broad and sweet, but with outstanding definition and a magically light touch to its fruit, mineral and spice flavors. Wonderfully brisk, complete wine with an explosive back end featuring great tannic structure and outstanding aromatic lift. I wouldn’t call this powerful wine fat or silky, but it’s utterly seamless and incredibly suave. Should be a cellar classic.

96-98 points

2008 Gaja Cabernet Sauvignon Darmagi Langhe
Medium red-ruby. Medicinal black cherry, cassis, wild herbs and menthol on the nose, with some sweet oak showing. Thick and lush in the mouth but very backward and built for the long haul. Much darker in its fruit character than Gaja’s wines from the Barolo and Barbaresco zones. Finishes juicy, oaky and long, with a fine dusting of tannins.

92(+?) points

2007 Gaja Nebbiolo Conteisa Langhe
Full medium red. Rather unforthcoming but mellow aromas of plum, mocha and licorice. Silky on entry, then more tightly wound toward the back in spite of its plush, layered texture. Lovely raspberry, spice and underbrush flavors blast through the building, granular tannins on the long aftertaste.

94 points

2007 Gaja Nebbiolo Sperss Langhe
Good medium-deep red. Classic Barolo aromas of strawberry, underbrush, tar and brown spices. Incredibly rich, plush and smooth, showcasing the sweetness of the year in spades. This remarkably round, thick wine envelops the entire palate but has enough acidity to avoid coming off as heavy. The great, slowly building finish features utterly harmonious ripe tannins and terrific breadth and grip.

97 points

2007 Gaja Cabernet Sauvignon Darmagi Langhe
Full red-ruby. Cassis, licorice and nutty oak on the nose. Wonderfully sweet, seamless cabernet with terrific depth of plum and musky underbrush flavor. Silkier and rounder than the 2008, reflecting the very different styles of these two vintages. Finishes very long, pliant and sweet, with suave tannins.

93 points

Wine Advocate 2008 Barbaresco and Langhe Nebbiolo Scores and Notes

This is a stunning set of wines from Angelo Gaja and his team in Barbaresco. Those who think 2008 is a truly great year for Nebbiolo must have tasted these wines. In a vintage that is inconsistent across the villages of Barbaresco, Gaja has produced not one but four stellar wines.”—Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

Click here to view Antonio Galloni’s Wine Advocate scores and notes for Gaja’s 2008 Barbaresco and Langhe Nebbiolo.

Harvest Report 2010

PIEDMONT

In the right amounts, sun and rain are what create quality in Piedmontese wines, the Nebbiolo-derived wines of Barbaresco and Barolo among them.

The climatic progression of 2010 has been different from that of the previous ten years. During the summer of 2003, there were eight exceptionally hot weeks. In 2010, there were only two. In 2010, it rained nearly three times as much as it did in 2003 and as a result, the vines never suffered from hydric stress. From a climatic standpoint, it is as if we had traveled back in time: there are more than a few similarities with 1996 and 1982.

In 2010, hard work was necessary in the vineyards: the frequent springtime rains made vineyard management more difficult than usual and the rainfall in late August and September was a cause of concern for grape growers, who feared that the health of their fruit would be compromised. In Piedmont, winemakers were somewhat surprised to find that harvest ended with superior quality. In fact, the 2010 harvest will make for harmonious, balanced and elegant wines, endowed with bright, vibrant acidity and measured alcohol content.

As in the past, the Nebbiolo vineyards which received great care, with the best exposure and terroir, will be those achieving the most excellence in wines.

TUSCANY

Tuscany also experienced plentiful rainfall in 2010 and there were relatively few exceptionally hot weeks. The weather of another era has returned.

At PIEVE SANTA RESTITUTA, Montalcino, things could not have gone better, due in part to a little bit of skill but also thanks to chance: we chose the best moments to work in the vineyards; the choice to green harvest on two different occasions delivered results than in more effective previous years, and we predicted the right time to begin the harvest.

Our early (although not definitive) tastings of the recently vinified wine lead my staff and me to believe that we have created the best vintage of Brunello di Montalcino since 1994, the year we acquired Pieve Santa Restituta.

At CA’ MARCANDA, the season began in Bolgheri with a mild winter and average rainfall.

Then, from April until June, the rainfall was frequent and plentiful, so much so that it seemed as though we had returned to the bizarre vintages of another era. In the majority of vineyards, in the flatlands, the drainage of rainwater took place slowly, causing stagnation that made access difficult for mechanical farm tools when anti-parasitic treatments needed to be carried out. There was no lack of anxious moments and genuine concern.

A hot and dry July helped to make up for some of the delay that had been accumulated in vegetative development.

It was during this period that we began to prune and drop fruit at Ca’ Marcanda, a green harvest more severe than in years past. Our intervention was rewarded with quality in an otherwise climatically difficult year.

The rain began to fall again, every so often, from the end of August until the end of September. As a result, we had to harvest (by hand, as always) not just during the work-week but on Saturdays and Sundays as well. A vintage marked by bizarre weather, just as it used to be in another time. We were surprised, however, by the quality of the vintage, excellent for no less than 80% of the harvest. Wines from the 2010 vintage will be lean, balanced, and with excellent acidity and aromatic character.

ITALY

The 2010 vintage in Italy will be remembered among the least productive in terms of quantity and perhaps the most sparse. Overall quality is good, with scattered excellence here and there.

Angelo Gaja
November 5, 2010

GAJA winery, Barbaresco, Piedmont
PIEVE S. RESTITUTA winery, Montalcino, Tuscany
CA’ MARCANDA winery, Bolgheri, Tuscany