Undoubtedly, A. Gaja is one of the most meticulous and best winemakers of Piedmont if not of all Italy today. He produces few wines, in relatively small quantities, but pays attention to each step from pruning, to fertilizing, “green harvesting”, harvesting, transportation and winemaking.
Above all he is a marketing genius.
For many his wines remain out of reach, but he says “At the end of the year when I go to my cellar and I have no wine left, then I know my prices are right. If I have many cases left, I am overcharging and if I run out of wine in the middle of September my wines are under priced.”
Gaja, a native of Barbaresco started working with his father in his small (35,000 case) winery. Today he works closely with Guido Rivella, his winemaker, and contributes much success to him
Gaja’s wines reflect the terroir unique to Barbaresco, but they are more refined than the products of other wineries. Although Barbaresco is entitled to D O C G designation, he decided to use D O C ( a class lower) to have the liberty to blend 15 percent Barbera into his Barbaresco in an attempt to achieve a better balance and texture
It is only recently that he bought a vineyard in Barolo, 15 kilometres from Barbaresco as the crow flies, and in Maremma, Tuscany, a sub region favoured by the best winemakers of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.
Gaja’s single-vineyard Barbarsecos (Sori San Lorenzo, Costa Russiz and Sori Tildin) are the best of all. He claims that in mono-variety regions the grape variety becomes a vehicle to discover the taste of soil. In fact, wine encompasses geography, geology, chemistry, technology and gustatory pleasure, something few consumables achieve.
He is known to defy the Italian law and plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the hallowed soil of Piedmont no other winemaker dared to this day.
Some winemakers’ plant French grape varieties like Viognier, Syrah and others
will soon follow him. In fact now there are few vineries that produce Viognier, and no doubt many others will follow soon.
His legendary reputation for detail includes steaming barrels instead of burning sulphur sticks to sterilize, ands he uses the best wine glasses in tastings to showcase his incomparable wines.
In order to appreciate and understand the Gaja quality standards, one must experience one bottle of Barbaresco Sori ,San Lorenzo from a good vintage. In Piedmont vintages matter a great deal. You will be a convert for life.