In 1994, Gaja acquired its first property in Toscana, 40 acres from the Pieve Santa Restituta estate in Montalcino. A couple of years later, he acquired 250 acres in Bolgheri. Three Brunelli are made in Montalcino and this wine is a blend selected from several of the estate vineyards. The Sangiovese Grosso shows plum, blackberry, and well-integrated, tight-grained oak tannins. The wine is enticing, but it will clearly benefit from decanting and will certainly age well over the next 10-20 years.
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 aging, 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. Since the early 1990s, Gaja has expanded his empire into Tuscany with significant vineyards in Montalcino and Bolgheri. Today, his two daughters Gaia and Rossana manage the extensive land holdings and global distribution of this important brand.
Angelo Gaja and his daughter Gaia Gaja don't make Bolgheri Superiore wines, although this wine qualifies as such. The 2013 Bolgheri Rosso Camarcanda shows the pedigree of the vintage and the importance this top-shelf wine deserves. This is an exceptional blend of Merlot with Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc that is challenging to taste next to the 2014 Magari, which is so radically different. Camarcanda reveals Gaja's signature touch with full and generous fruit layers that are backed by spice, leather, tobacco, and lovely succulence. The wine is integrated and smooth with long-lasting favors and beautiful tannin management. Despite its heft, the wine is elegant and silky through and through.
This has been an important year in the wild world of Angelo Gaja. His most prized wines made in Barbaresco have now been returned to full appellation status (they are no longer IGT Langhe). His children, most notably Gaia Gaja, are taking on an increasingly public role to ensure a seamless generational transition. His wines, spanning from Piedmont in the far North of Italy to his two Tuscan estates, are showing consistent results and fully integrated production. This is especially true of his beloved Ca' Marcanda estate in Castagneto Carducci (Bolgheri), the apple of Angelo Gaja's eye. The 2013 Bolgheri Rosso Camarcanda is an excellent edition of one of the best wines made on the Tuscan Coast. Also very interesting are the elegant and more subdued wines from the 2014 vintage. ~ 95pts, WA
Very Bordeaux-like, this red offers plum, cherry, coffee, green olive and spice aromas, and flavors. Taut and dense, with a long, fresh finish that exudes cedar, sandalwood, and green olive notes. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2018 through 2030. 1,200 cases made. ~ 95 pts WS
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