Pure Piedmont at its core, with native Nebbiolo paired to Barbera against a backdrop Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this sun-kissed red leads with herb and earth before revealing the juicy red berry and citrus fruit within. The third act turns smoky and spicy with a lovely salinity on the finish. Intriguing from start to finish, this was made for a meal but it’s tempting to enjoy on its own without the distraction of a dish!
Angelo Gaja, born in 1940, remains the alpha male of Italian winemaking, one of a long line of natural-born leaders and entrepreneurs. His father, Giovanni, was the political secretary for Barbaresco under Mussolini, and was so popular with the local citizenry that the Italian resistance never harmed him during WWII. Giovanni went on to become Mayor of Barbaresco from 1958 to 1983. For most of the postwar period, Giovanni worked as a construction manager all over Piedmont, and invested all of his earnings in land, while his mother, Clotilde Rey, AKA Tildin, ran the winery. By the time young Angelo entered the family business in 1961, the family owned 82 acres of prime vineyard land in Barbaresco and their brand was already well-known throughout Italy. In the following years, Angelo went on to build an Italian institution, adding estate vineyards in the Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and Bolgheri appellations. Today Gaja [GUY-yuh] is arguably the most prestigious wine brand in Italy.