The last few years in the fine wine business have shown that the world’s greatest wines with small annual productions are very strong positions to buy and hold. Bordeaux may be the world’s most famous wine region, but the top chateaux such as Lafite and Mouton Rothschild perennially produce an average of 20,000 cases. However, during the downturn in Bordeaux prices, Petrus has remained strong, after all it only produces 2,000 -3,000 cases per year. Over the last five years the leading wines from the rest of the world, which fit this ultra high quality yet tiny production paradigm have soared, such as Romanee Conti and Screaming Eagle.
Piedmont like Burgundy is terroir driven, defined by single vineyard sites with tiny production. There is a growing global market of wealthy consumers who want to own the best, however, like Burgundy, single vineyard Barolos and Barbarescos cannot fulfil the supply. Collectors who want to own the most prestigious single vineyards of Barbaresco want Gaja’s Costa Russi, Sori Tildin and San Lorenzo. San Lorenzo has the largest production of the three, with 1,025 cases in 2011, while Sori Tildin and Costa Russi only made 983 and 916 respectively. Robert Parker, who is the world’s foremost purveyor of great wine commented in 2004 that in the coming years “few consumers will be able to afford Piedmont’s profound Barolos and Barbarescos (which will be subject to fanatical worldwide demand 10 times what we see today)”. Parker’s prediction has been vindicated, yet we are still early in Piedmont’s global rise and as such we are delighted to be able to offer Gaja’s new 2011 releases, which have received effusive reviews from the world leading critics.
The 2011 vintage in Piedmont is exciting, the Barbarescos are superb, possessing voluptuous rich fruit texture, delightful aromas and aromatic complexity, ripe tannin and fresh acidity; ‘The wines show rich, velvety fruit with lots of texture and intensity.’ Monica Larner. The leading critics are placing them equal to or greater than the heralded 2010s. The 2011 yields are slightly lower than usual, the late ripening Nebbiolo faired wonderfully and they are now being paralleled with the superb 2007s, with comparable rich, velvety and voluptuous fruit. All of the major critics Monica Larner (ML), Antonio Galloni (AG) and James Suckling (JS) have released their scores and they confirm this is one of the greatest vintages from Gaja ever:
Gaja Costa Russi 2011, 6×75 – £1,100 IB
Produced from a single vineyard purchased in 1967. The name is derived from the word ‘costa’ the side of the hill which faces the sun, while Russi is the nickname the former owner. Costa Russi is regarded by many as the softest, most refined and aromatic, it is elegant and embodies finesse.
Moncia Larner, Wine Advocate – 95 points
“The 2011 Costa Russi delivers youthfulness and brightness with bold cherry fruit flavors, cassis, spice and mild cola. The wine excels in in the mouth where it shows a great degree of roundness and suppleness. Costa Russi is Nebbiolo with a tiny addition of Barbera. Drink: 2018-2038.”
Gaja Sori Tildin 2011, 6×75 – £ 1,145 IB
Also purchased in 1967 and first produced as a single-vineyard in 1970. Sori is Piedmontese for ‘hilltop’ and Tildin is the Nickname of Clotilde Rey, Angelo’s Grandmother. Sori Tildin is celebrated for its extraordinary richness and vibrant intensity.
James Suckling – 97 points
“What a decadent nose of white truffles, meat and game with dark fruits too. Full body, chewy and round tannins and great depth of fruit. Layered texture. Very long and intense. Better in 2017”
Sori San Lorenzo 2011, 6×75 – £1,250 IB
The vineyard was bought in 1964 from the Parish of Alba and thereby named after San Lorezno the patron saint of Alba’s cathedral. Sori San Lorenzo is incredibly powerful, with potent tannin, it is the most dense and concentrated of the three single vineyards and needs many years in bottle, however, it is these characteristics that lead to its incredibly high scores.
James Sucking – 98 points
“Superb aromas of dark fruit such as plums and berries with hints of white truffles. Fresh roses too. Full body, velvety tannins, yet firm and full of tension. Love the lemon and orange aftertaste. Great finish. Better in 2017.”
Gaja Barbaresco 2011, 6×75 – £495 IB
Gaja Barbaresco is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from 14 different Barbaresco vineyards, at an altitude between 250 and 330 metres above sea level and covering 21.4 hectares. The grapes from each vineyard undergo separate fermentation and maceration, then spend 12 months ageing in barrique, followed by 12 months in large oak casks. We released this earlier in the year and sold out immediately, we have managed to source another small parcel and its recent scores solidify the belief that this is one their greatest ever efforts.
James Suckling, 95 points
“Extremely perfumed with roses, dark berries, ash, asphalt, and sliced plums. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a juicy, savory finish. Orange and lemon peel undertones. Gorgeous finish. Hard not to drink now. A beautiful wine. Drink or hold. But why wait?”
The three single vineyards in 2011 are hugely compelling and not to be missed, they offer the very best of Barbaresco and promise wonderful price appreciation over the coming years, with Asia already showing its interest in these hard to source truly great wines. It will pay to own one or all of the single vineyards, however, if you would like advise on which single vineyard will best suite your palate please do not hesitate to ask for more information; all make wonderful collectors items. The standard Barbaresco will enters its drinking window earlier and offer a wonderful way to access Gaja’s splendour at a lower price point.
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