Gaja’s Barolo 2013s

Gaja’s Barolo 2013s
There are no two ways about it, exciting times are afoot at Gaja. As the gregarious Gaia Gaja takes the helm at this iconic Piedmont estate, 2013 signals the first vintage since 1996 to re-join the Barolo DOCG classification, marking a stylistic shift toward freshness, purer tannin definition and clearer vineyard signatures. With due reverence to the success and quality of her father’s legendary wines, Gaia Gaja advocates change.

With great pride in the history of Piedmont, Gaia laments what she sees as historic European wine regions becoming mono-cultures; marking the loss not just of wholesome rural traditions but a practical susceptibility to illness and uniform climatic pressures too. For twenty years, the Gaja estate has been building lively, healthy ecosystems in and around their vineyards, championing progress and the environmental agenda - something Gaia intends to continue. However, she has made a few adjustments in the cellar, like reducing the amount of oxidative winemaking, opting instead to use lees and natural reduction to its advantage, eschewing regular racking, thus finding a lighter natural balance in the wines.

The 2013s are a great success story. In Gaia’s words, “2013 is a vintage of elegance, delicate sweet tannins (more so than even 2001, 2004 and 2010), and beautiful perfumes. The harvest was consistent and late, picked during cold days which meant for long, slow fermentations. It took some time for the wines to show their personality but now they are totally transparent.”

Conteisa, from the Cerequio vineyard in La Morra, is the more ethereal and approachable of the two Barolos today, exhibiting silky red cherries, marzipan, freshly cut mint and marine, rocky spices. Graceful on the palate, with crisp fresh tannins, it will be approachable over the medium term and age gracefully for decades. Sperss is richer and deeper, from a blend of vineyards in Serralunga d’Alba, yielding more concentration and iron-spice. Red and black fruit overlay earth and balsamic, while the palate is spurred with virile tannins, bright acidity, and an intense, long finish . Cellar for ten years before broaching.

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