Angelo Gaja's best-kept secret might be his closet traditionalism. When Gaja assumed control of his father's estate, he rightly recognized that the world didn't know much about Barbaresco, and he realized that in order to open the door to his wines, he might have to play fast and loose with Barbaresco's tried-and-true traditions. He planted international grapes, including Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and he began tinkering with protocol, using both big wood and small wood to age his wines. While Gaja might have wanted to woo international palates, he ended up making outrageously good wines, like his Gaia & Rey, and in making good wine that was recognizable to the global palate, Gaja helped bring the wines of Barbaresco to collectors' attention, to their cellars and to their tables.
Yet, while other modernist winemakers have now come to rediscover traditional methods, Gaja never stopped using them. He nudged the door open with modernist methods, but the core of Gaja's philosophy has always come from traditional methods. While others denigrated well-aged and super-large botti, shunned natural yeasts and were abhorred by the thought of any natural molds in the cellar, Gaja unceremoniously continued to use each of these things to bring magic to his wines. Gaja may grow Chardonnay; he may have the bravura to mix the old and the new, the modernist and the traditional; but these are the things that make him not only one of Italy's great winemakers but also unclassifiable. It's not a bad position to hold.
Today, I'm very proud to bring you eight new releases from Gaja, including two wines that are new to IWM, and quite likely new to you, Gaja's Dagromis Barolo and its Super-Piemontese Sito Moresco, both affordable, accessible Gaja bottles. You won't find the newest releases of Gaja's famed single-vineyard trio--not yet--but you will find both of the estate's Chardonnay wines, its traditional Barbaresco, its two declassified Barolos, and its Super-Piemontese blend Darmagi. There's a lot for lovers of Gaja to celebrate in this offer. These wines are all the more special because they show the passing of the Gaja torch from Angelo to his daughter, Gaia, who is assuming increasingly more responsibility in winemaking. They're beautiful Gaja wines, and I'm very excited to debut them!