2016 Gaja Barbaresco DOCG

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  • 2016 is a Can’t Miss Vintage in Piemonte 

About the Wine

This wine is considered the flagship wine of the Gaja portfolio. Sourced from across the 14 vast vineyard holdings of the Gaja family, this is a wine that best represents a vintage. 2014 was an outstanding vintage (95+ rated by VM). An elegant dame, the super fine tannins make the mouth pucker. Brickish red in color, the wine explodes in the mouth with an amazingly long finish. With decanting, this wine is already enjoyable, but the patient collector will enjoy the wine in 2022 and for up to 25 years. 

About the Winery

The Gaja family landed in Piemonte from Spain in the 17th century. Following WWII, Giovanni Gaja acquired large vineyard holdings in the area. His son, Angelo, is considered one of the pioneers of modern winemaking in Italy. After studying wine in Montpellier, he was one of the first to bring French techniques such as barrique barrel ageing, malolactic fermentation, and modern technical innovations. Yet, he continued to implement extended macerations following fermentation. By raising the level and recognition of Nebbiolo, Angelo Gaja has been commended by every major wine publication in the world and acknowledged as an innovator. Today, his two daughters Gaia and Rossana manage the extensive land holdings and global distribution of this important brand.

Reviews

Aromas of rose, red berry, and eucalyptus mingle with whiffs of exotic spice on the gorgeous, fragrant red. Loaded with finesse and tension, the elegant, structured palate delivers crushed raspberry, white pepper, and star anise set against fresh acidity and taut, lithe tannins. It’s already compelling but hold for even more complexity. Drink 2022–2036. ~98 Cellar Selection Wine Enthusiast

This gorgeous red evokes rose, strawberry, raspberry, and cherry fruit, shaded by tobacco, tar, and wild thyme notes. Pure, sleek, and intense, with a firm base of tannins and vibrant acidity for support. This should evolve beautifully. Be patient. Best from 2022 through 2043. ~96 Wine Spectator

I tasted this wine over two sittings, one at the winery and one at my home office a few weeks later. Although I can't claim any extraordinary differences between the two sessions, I noticed a few minimal shifts that are essential to understanding the wine's future aging ability. The 2016 Barbaresco starts off slow at first, showing a small margin of aromatic evolution in the glass. But come back two hours later, and you can almost hear the soft sounds of the symphony playing just below the surface. The 2016 vintage is characterized by the solid intensity and firmness of its aromas, which transcend fruit and veer toward balsamic herb, licorice, tar and smoke instead. The tannins offer a moment of sweetness and softness, before you are aware of their undeniable firmness. In all, there is a certain glossiness or satiny quality to the mouthfeel that underlines the wine's carefully crafted integration. I would describe this as a classic and also a somewhat austere Barbaresco that fully deserves extra cellar time to stretch those tight muscles and grow in volume. This wine will award those who wait. ~96 Robert Parker

This is all about finesse with power. Such great length here with ever so refined tannins and precise strawberry, cedar, dried-rose and mineral character. Medium body. Fresh and vivid finish. Hard not to drink now, but wait until at least 2021. ~96 James Suckling

The Gaja family calls 2016 one of the best vintages they have ever experienced, with a long, slow ripening period without heat stress or disease pressure. That balance comes through in this suave, elegant Barbaresco. It smells of soft rose petals and tastes of juicy cherries and spiced raspberries, the flavors gliding along smooth, ripe tannins. With air, the wine picks up energy and depth, moving into a long, vibrant finish. ~96 Wine & Spirits

The 2016 Barbaresco showed beautifully, with a classical yet seductive and sweetly fruited style that's going to evolve gracefully. Medium ruby-hued, with a core of sweet red fruits balanced by classic dried flowers, licorice, asphalt, and medicinal herbs, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness that carries impress sweet fruit as well as building tannins. Barbaresco doesn't get more classic, and while it has a sunny, sweetly fruited style, it also has ample underlying tannins and structure, so give bottles 4-5 years. It should deliver the goods for two decades or more. ~94 Jeb Dunnuck

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