Though Gaja Barbaresco 2004 is now a couple of vintages old it didn't really give me the excuse I needed to drink it. So I'm going to blame it on the credit crunch. This may be a £100 bottle of vino but I already own it, so in real terms, that makes it free right? And free wine is the most delicious wine of all. OK, so it didn't have 10+ years of age on it and was no where near its drinking window, but it was still incredible wine and if the Italians refuse to wait for their Piedmont treasures to mature then neither will I.
So this is what a bottle of Gaja Barbaresco looks like. Elegant, refined, classic good looks, the hallmark of Italian craftsmanship. And this is what I look like. All the same adjectives can be applied.
I've written about Angelo Gaja's wines so many times on wine90 that you'd be mistaken for thinking Gaja is my favourite Italian producer, well in terms of continued quality, quest for excellence and willingness to experiment, then Gaja is but these wines lack something I love more and that is QPR.
Gajas entire range, from the Chardonnay to the Sperrs, from the vineyards of the Piedmont to those in Tuscany, produce wines of a good standard, though from prices ranging from £20-£250, not a one of them could be called a "value buy".
You can buy the Sito Moresco (nebbiolo), Cremes (dolcetto) and Promis (super tuscan) wines for a £20 note each but there are better wines from all 3 varietals selling cheaper. We know from experience, whether it's handbags or cars, when a luxury brand releases products for the masses, they are rarely of high quality. You're paying for the name, duck. That being said, the very best wines from Gaja, from the Barolo and Barbaresco vineyards are among the best wines produced in the world.
It is pretty much agreed that, challenged only by Giacosa, Gaja is the king of Barbaresco and with 2004 being a superb vintage in the Piedmont this bottle of wine was never going to be anything less than excellent. My review of the 2005 effort was less favourable by just two points and I'm going against the grain of expert opinion here as 2005 is rated by Galloni as a better bottle than the 2004. In my humble, the 2004 is not only more complex than the 2005 but will age better too, in the end they are two different bottles of wine, which you prefer is up to you.
Gaja Barbaresco 2004 - BUY - €116
A mid ruby red in the glass. The nose is surprisingly open, obvious aromas of wood, tar and floral notes. A mid bodied wine. On the palate the wine is smooth, tannic but so well ingrained, this is all structure and balance, little light on the mid palate but the initial attack and finish are opulent. The alcohol makes itself known on the finish which is lengthy with good fruit, dark berries. 95 Points
Clearly too young, still very enjoyable, luckily for me it's not my only bottle.
Where can I buy this wine?
Americans - America's wine shop - $123 (deal!)
Europeans - Enoteca Piccolomini - €116
Brits - Speciality Wines - £98
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