Gaja and Wine



Angelo Gaja is a real character, in the most positive sense of the term it has a magnetic charisma, precise ideas that never afraid to expose with clarity, a culture of the past and a talkative so fascinating to kidnap. All this, of course, without conceit or arrogance, indeed this man is full of energy at the same time an influential professor when peering with his deep blue eyes, but also a nice companion when you leave to go to one of his laughter.


No, as evidenced by those who met him at Vinitaly or halfway around the world, or in his Barbaresco , a village of the Langhe 's not even 600 inhabitants nestled in the hills just north-east of Alba, where Angelo was born in 1940. But among the vines and red wine is grown, because both the father as his grandfather made ​​wine in what is still the company headquarters.

Obviously, space and equipment increased significantly, but the passion and craftsmanship are unchanged. Or maybe the first one is even grown. The Gaja family began producing wine in Barbaresco in Langhe, already in 1859, with his great-grandfather John, but the commitment to quality comes with his grandfather Angelo and, above all, the grandmother Clotilde Rey that Angelo (current) then gave immortality along with the eldest daughter Gaia label of its first white wine Gaia & Rey in fact, one of the best Chardonnay in the world .

Why in a land with large red should produce a white, for more from international grape? For Angelo is simple: "I dreamed of a big white ... Well, the terroir here is undoubtedly excellent, while the variety that gives the best whites in the world is certainly Chardonnay," as demonstrated by the wines of Burgundy. The vineyard is planted by Angelo in 1979 and the wine came out in 1983; mature 6-8 months in barrique .

 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco, a myth of world enology The evolution of the label black and white designed by Angelo Gaja The other great wines of Gaja, produced in Tuscany: Brunello three three Bolgheri Gaja: Wines for tradition The wines mature in oak barrels that is in the barrel, in a perfect balance The new part of the cellar directly below the castle courtyard Barbaresco.

But back to the story of the family and the winery in this inextricably linked. The significant development of the wine takes place with dad John, who expands the heritage of vineyards by purchasing even those who today are the family jewels, the cru Sori San Lorenzo, Costa Russi, Sori Tildin and Darmagi , from which Angelo then created his masterpieces, namely the three namesakes Barbaresco and the Langhe DOC Bordeaux blend. About the latter, when Angelo decided to deal with Cabernet and Merlot, to do this, explant an old vineyard in Barbaresco, whenever one of their dad exclaimed "Darmagi!", Which in local dialect means "sin."

Here, Giovanni Gaja was the son an important figure in the company until 1983, but constantly at his side until his death in 2002, Angelo, remembering, speaks of "extraordinary luck" for him because his father has been " memories, teachings, comparison, which then are" the cornerstones of the company typical craft ". Why this is called Angelo Gaja and it should not at all surprising: the whole family is involved in the supply chain ; the size of the company are human, as well as its organization; workers are not only respected but even pampered (the same Angel provides you with accommodation) and where you need a specialist (because the craftsman knows a bit of everything without specific specializations, which then has to look into other shapes as needed according Gaja) here is professionals such as Guido Rivella (winemaker), Giorgio Culasso (agronomist), Giovanni Bo (architect), who designed all the wineries Gaja.

Today the brand stands for 92 acres of property conducted in full respect of nature, for a production of about 350,000 bottles a year. precious bottles, which perfectly reflect the personality of Angel, or rather his way of understanding the wine. For these, in fact, the craftsman must make wines that first of all like them to himself, so he must then know how to tell. Indeed, this latter aspect is crucial.

Here, in this sentence condenses the Gaja thought, then perfectly translated in practice by both the man as Angelo Gaja wine. And, although I personally believe has affected only a small part, it was also important habillage of bottles: the name Gaja, top and strong evidence, and a simple label, black and white. The idea of the family name on the bottle the protagonist's father was John, while the color is setting Angelo: black is the past, gone, untouchable ("the black us can not write anymore ..."), while the white represents the future. That one day will be delivered to the three children of Angelo and Lucia, Gaia and Rossana, already stars in the company, and John, who is completing his studies.

But because of Gaja wines are so famous and celebrated? For more whereas the Barbaresco dad was already popular in Rome after the war, while his now acclaimed worldwide. Well, first of all because they are good, very good, even great, but not all. Yeah, because Gaja wines have personality, the soul , which does not mean simply produce excellent grapes with a view to quality begins at the winter pruning of the vine and then approach them masterfully in bottle or maintained in purity as, for example, in the famous Barbaresco, but knowing how to respect the tradition without being afraid to be in step with the times . And this angel has understood very well and was able to enclose it in their wines. For this reason, believes that the real treasure of Italy is not the winemaking heritage of indigenous varieties, but rather, the wealth of producers, intended as a heritage of humanity.

Anyway, Gaja is now a true legend in the world of wine, considering that his Barbaresco 1985, he was described by Wine Spectator the finest wine ever made ​​in Italy, that the 'magazine' American awarded him in 1997 the "distinguished Service Award" (hence the entry into the hall of fame), who a year later the British decanter have elected "Man of the Year" and, finally, in 2011, Americans still in the Wine Spectator honored even with the cover but they told me that with short sleeves do not come good, he jokes.

But the personality of Angelo Gaja and his vision of the wine are so strong and fascinating to emerge clearly in red theoretically ill suited to him as the Bordeaux blends of Bolgheri (the Ca'marcanda is a masterpiece, the Promis a surprise yummy) and even the Brunello di Montalcino. Since the name and the lands of Angelo Gaja also came in Tuscany, it is worth to mention this Sugarille Brunello vintage 2004 The scents are clean and undamaged, immediately and intensely identity of the Brunello, which is now far from obvious . And it is above all a fresh and elegant wine, which has pleasant to the taste and texture, tension and smoothness, depth and precision. A wine that is perfect fusion of being and being Gaja Brunello.

Come to tremble at the thought that Angel wanted to be a photographer - "I would like to tell the world through a lens," he admits - but his father sent him to the School of Enology in Alba. Fortunately, come to say: we would miss these great wines, expressive of a large territory and a great man. In perfect balance.

Gaja is not only Piedmont, Tuscany but also, as far as it may seem odd (it is now ten years the rivalry between the two regions for the title of "best" geologically speaking). In the mid-90s, the name Gaja was already popular in the world and the wines disputed, nonetheless Angelo did not want to let it grow the cellar over a certain size, or increase production. However, this was at odds with the "so much energy" that had, hence the idea of ​​watching just another great wine region, Tuscany.

And here focuses on two areas in very strong wine, Montalcino, where he bought the estate in 1994 Pieve Santa Restituta, and Castagneto Carducci in Bolgheri, home of Sassicaia, where in 1996 he began an even more ambitious project by the name of Ca'marcanda 100 hectares of vineyards and a winery completely underground, above ground on which were planted 300 olive trees. This, too, like all the cellars of Gaja, was designed by architect Giovanni Bo Asti and here we come to Bordeaux blend wines with personality but certainly not lower the Barbaresco as Promis, and maybe the Ca'marcanda.

We need to do more marketing, leaving the jocks left to lose. Angelo Gaja, the most famous in the world among wine producers, is coming back from Bordeaux, five days on the international stage of Vinexpo, a traditional event not only for the French. That ugly episode of Chinese students caught with bottles of champagne as a gesture of anti-invasion in Bordeaux. With a double invitation more marketing and alliance with the French.

"When the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini (which is not a dude) hears about marketing the hair stands on end - says Gaja -. Yet, just to talk about my Piedmont, many on the left have backed Bartolo Mascarello when he launched the label with the words No barriques, No Berlusconi. Is not marketing too? We must do more and better our marketing work. Instead, the Italian wine is in hand for 53 percent to the coop that often struggle to take risks on their own, preferring the welfare or aid funds CMO for export. "

The reflections are after observing what the patrol of the 400 Italian producers did and collected during Vinexpo. "In our market there are difficulties, of course, you spend more for the essentials that for wine. We have to get out of the crisis. But in the meantime have opened vast opportunities for Italian producers abroad. Sure, the competitors are many: Chile and the United States, for example, that have the ability to keep prices lower than us. Nothing is easy is granted. Italians who came here for the first time have had difficulty because of course the main focus is on the order of Bordeaux, Champagne and Cognac. "

The French event has different characteristics from that of the German and the Italian Prowein of Vinitaly. An important step for the synergy between France and Italy was made ​​yesterday with an agreement between the 'Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, which organizes the Semaine des Primeurs, and Vinitaly: they coordinated their events in order to allow buyers and Media from around the world to optimize their presence in two of the major events on the calendar in wine. Next year will be the appointment for the Semaine from March 31 to April 5, and Verona 6 to 9 April. "That's right - says Gaja - France is our natural ally, who else should we ally ourselves? We have a few wines in the competition, we must not seek agreements with countries improbable. "

For the rest, as Gaja said in a statement, attendance at the fair in Bordeaux was lower than that of the 2011 edition should, however, keep in mind that parallel to Vinexpo over 300 chateaux each edition, the number is growing organized at them tastings and gala dinners, draining a large number of visitors. The prestigious group Roederer Cristal Champagne and wines has instead chosen not to be present at the fair, renting rooms at a hotel in town where do converge their importers. Example that could become contagious.

The decline in consumption in producing countries, the increased focus on export and rain CMO contributions to the promotion of European wine in foreign markets spurred the organizers of the fairs to offer new marketing opportunities in countries further afield. A different wineries begins to come out of breath. It's coming time to decide. More marketing, in fact.

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