2008 Gaja – Icon & Iconoclast

Initially iconoclastic and now, himself, iconic, Angelo Gaja is famed world-wide for making some of the finest wines to come out of the Barbaresco region. Of course, three of them – Costa Russi, Sori San Lorenzo and Sori Tildin – cannot be labelled as Barbaresco, due to them containing 5% Barbera in the blend. 

I cannot claim to have tasted Gaja very often, but I have had the chance to taste this vintage twice. Once in the office here and a second time at a seminar with Gaia Gaja (Angelo’s daughter). While the quality of the wines was immediately evident, passion is also infectious and being able to hear Gaia talk about the wines, the location, the region and her father’s vision, was undoubtedly inspirational. 

These are wines that wear their hearts on their vinous sleeves. From the fragrant attractive Barbaresco to the more masculine and austere Sori Tildin, these are wines that express their place, their vintage and their maker utterly.

 2008 Barbaresco
£498 per case of 6 bottles in bond
100% Nebbiolo. Gaia Gaja describes this as a demonstration of the art of blending, drawn as it is from 14 separate vineyard parcels. Pure on the nose, with notes of red cherries and wild strawberry. On the palate, this immediately shows great freshness, which enlivens fine, structural tannins and elegant, refined red fruit. Mouthwatering on the finish, very moreish.

 2008 Costa Russi
£1140 per case of 6 bottles in bond
With 5% Barbera included in the blend to add fragrance and colour, this again shows a pretty, floral nose. The palate shows delicate plum and cherry fruit, with hints of spice and blossom, framed by finely expressed tannins that give an almost-silky mouthfeel. Beautiful. 

2008 Sori San Lorenzo
£1140 per case of 6 bottles in bond
95% Nebbiolo, 5% Barbera. Compelling on the nose, with dark berry notes, bramble and a hint of coffee. More austere on the palate than the Costa Russi, yet showing layers of deep black fruits, vibrant acidity and quite structural tannins. In need of time to unwind, but already a beautifully elegant example of Nebbiolo.  

2008 Sori Tildin
£1140 per case of 6 bottles in bond
95% Nebbiolo, 5% Barbera. Black fruits are to the fore on the nose of this wine, with hints of graphite and woodsmoke. There is an immediate sense of freshness on the palate, balancing tannins that are quite bold in nature, but ripe and fine. Notes of minerals, graphite and leather overlay a core of dark berry fruit. Brooding, poised and showing huge potential.

Kat Wiggins  

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