"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes." Walt Whitman wrote these lines in his poem "Song of Myself," his renowned poem about identity. While Whitman's poem explores in a broad context what it means to be human, the poet could've been writing it about Angelo Gaja.
Gaja famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) rebelled against traditional Langhe winemaking. He's known for his use of modern protocol, French barriques, and single-vineyard bottlings, his planting Cabernet Sauvignon and, eventually, his choice to add Barbera and declassify his Barbaresco and Barolo. These radical departures from Langhe winemaking history made ardent fans--as well as passionate detractors. It's fair to say that Gaja is the poster boy for change in the very staid, very traditional Langhe.
That said, Angelo has remained true to tradition in making one specific wine: a classic, conventional and thoroughly historical Barbaresco. It's a blend. It's vinified in giant old botti. It's a wine that Angelo's forbears would instantly recognize. Gaja Barbaresco speaks long, intricate and operatic volumes about its history, its maker and its land. It's a wine that conflicts with every other wine that made Angelo famous. And yet, it's unquestionably important. It is large; it contains multitudes, just as does the man who made it.
Today, I'm proud to offer 19 different bottlings of Gaja Barbaresco, wines that span the years from 1958, when Giovanni Gaja, Angelo's father, still controlled the estate to 2006, a recent standout vintage. Rarely do collectors get a chance to enjoy multiple vintages of a winemaker, stretching across his or her career and artistic development. This, however, is one of those rare moments, and it's a point of pride that I can bring these wines to you.
I'm also delighted to offer René Leclerc's 2010 Gevrey beauties. These wines may be the crowning achievement in this winemaker's life, which is truly saying something. Finally, I'm delighted to offer time-sensitive pricing on a singular Saint-Julien Bordeaux from Château Gruaud Larose, also from 2010. These are all great wines, and I hope you enjoy them.
Here's to the multitudes we all contain, and to Angelo Gaja, a man who knows how to make the most of his contradictions.
Today's Featured Sections Include:
1. Spotlight on Excellence: Gaja Barbaresco 1958-2006
2. Time Sensitive Offer: Chateau Gruaud Larose 2010 for Under $80
3. Our Experts Suggest: An Italian's Favorite Champagnes
4. Only At IWM: The Transparent, Thrilling 2010s of René Leclerc
5. Wine Events: Modern vs. Traditional Barolo