375ml (Half Bottles)
3000ml (Double Magnums)
Brunello di Montalcino
Languedoc & Rousillon
Agricola San Felice
Braida di Giacomo Bologna
Canalicchio di Sopra
Cascina La Barbatella
Case Basse di Soldera
Castello dei Rampolla
Castiglion del Bosco
Dal Forno, Romano
Fattoria di Fubbiano
Poggio di Sotto
Porta del Vento
Produttori del Barbaresco
Rocche dei Manzoni
San Giusto A Rentennano
Tenuta San Guido
Gaja Costa Russi Barbaresco 2013 3L
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Dark, juicy red and blue fruits rest in a framework of crushed lavender and roses, sun-warmed earth, wet river rocks, baking spices and cherry cordial in the stellar ’13 Costa Russi. Terrifically structured, this wine shows firm, sophisticated tannins offset by energetic acidity; deceptively powerful, this wine builds to a lingering, satisfying crescendo. The 11-acre Costa Russi vineyard, which sits alongside Sorì Tildìn in Roncagliette, takes its name from the word “costa,” which is the side of a hill that faces the sun and “Russi,” the name of the vineyard’s former owners. A mono-varietal Nebbiolo since 2013, the grapes for this wine ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel; then the wine ages in a year each of barrique and botti before bottling.
Sub Region: Cuneo
While rooted in the tradition of the Langhe, Angelo Gaja has enriched this foundation with an openminded sensibility that marries traditional practices and technological innovation, thereby extending Piemonte’s international reach. His philosophy recognizes the Nebbiolo grape’s inherent capacity for creative expression, which enables it to accommodate the market’s desire for both oak-driven and tannic styles. (That said, however, it is important to note that his wines are never obfuscated by over-extraction or oak.) Though he has his detractors, their opposition has proved innocuous, as Gaja’s wines rival the world’s most acclaimed and sought-after bottlings. While regarded as expensive on release, they continue to appreciate, trading at premium prices and invariably elevating the price standard in Piemonte.
The Gaja estate’s qualitative supremacy and cachet are not solely attributable to Angelo. In fact, his father’s 1961 Barbaresco may be the most profound bottling of its designation ever to be produced. The Gaja name represents a legacy of quality that has evolved since the family emigrated from Spain over 300 years ago. Angelo maintained his family’s high standards of production while inaugurating a new stylistic direction—more often than not through measures that incited controversy. Foremost among these was his inaugural use of barrique in the vinification of his 1975 Barbaresco cuvée. Gaja is widely credited with having instituted this practice, the objective of which is to soften the formidable tannins of the Nebbiolo grape, thereby producing a wine that is richer and more concentrated in its fruit expression than traditional models. Other early efforts included the reduction of crop size, shortened pruning of Nebbiolo vines, and decreased fermentation periods.
The 1967 debut release of Sorì San Lorenzo began his pioneering work with the vinification of single-vineyard wines. This was succeeded by two additional crus, Sorì Tildin (1970) and Costa Russi (1978), both of which derive from the Roncagliette Vineyard. Each member of this legendary trio is both recognized for achieving a substantive period of maturation and avidly sought on the collector’s market, where all invariably enjoy a substantive degree of appreciation. Gaja didn’t stop there, however, going on to defy Piemonte’s varietal protocol by relaunching Cabernet Sauvignon’s presence in the region after nearly a century-long absence, a revolutionary act captured in the vineyard’s name, Darmagi— meaning“what a pity”—the expression his father would utter when he passed by the spot, formerly a Nebbiolo site. He continued to elicit unrest and disapprobation through his dedicated planting of Chardonnay in the Gaia & Rey Vineyard (1981), the source of his now famous eponymous bottling. This was followed shortly thereafter by a vineyard for Sauvignon Blanc—Alteni di Brassica.
As controversial as these acts may have been on an insular level, they ultimately constituted the fountainhead of Piemonte’s emergence on the world scene. Gaja didn’t merely implement modern approaches, he actively sought to draw attention to the Piemonte he was refashioning through savvy marketing techniques. In so doing, he fashioned an attractive, worldly identity for Piemonte in general and Barbaresco in particular, the latter of which had no identity to speak of in the late 1960s. Through it all, Gaja has steadfastly maintained a passionate commitment to fashioning a traditional Barbaresco cuvée—a profound homage to both his grandfather and father—that remains a defining expression in the genre. He also possesses property in the La Morra and Serralunga areas of Barolo, the sources, respectively, of his Conteisa and Sperss Nebbiolo Langhe bottlings.
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