Balanced, smooth, deceptively powerful and nuanced, Gaja’s Dagromis Barolo allows Nebbiolo lovers to enjoy Gaja’s artistry at a relatively affordable price. Named after the vineyard’s original owners, the Nebbiolo for this wine derives from the Dagromis site in La Morra and Gaja’s site in Serralunga, both with clayey-marl soils. Grapes ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages for one year in barrique, followed by one year in botti.
*The following is an extract of an article published in the Wine Bites Mag “An Afternoon with Gaia Gaja”
Gaja is at once both one of the world’s wine icons and a controversial winery bucking “traditional wisdom” often being the trend setter rather than the follower. For me, it’s a sign that the Gaja’s have passion, focus, and, that they are pushing the boundaries.
Over the last six months I’ve drunk Gaja’s wines from over 5 decades of production. One thing has been clear, they are evolving and pushing to make the best wines they can. This evolution has not been insulated from changes in the wine world. Historically, across the world’s greatest wine regions, think Barolo, Barbaresco, Burgundy, Tuscany, traditional winemaking has been interrupted by curiosity with the potential of new world winemaking techniques. Gaja has not been immune from this trend, use of high levels of new oak has being the most obvious example. Something I’m glad to say has been tempered in recent times.
Gaja has a long history stretching back to it’s very beginnings in 1859. The transformation from an largely unknown winery in a region, not valued by consumers to one of the worlds most famous wineries in a very special region certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Gaia Gaja shared with us the history of Barbaresco, the Gaja winery, the challenge of establishing recognition for the region and what the future holds. One thing is certain, the Gaja’s aren’t afraid of pushing against the rules, some rules are meant to be broken. They have had to declassify their Barbaresco from DOCG status simply because the rules don’t fit what they believe is the best way to make their wine. With a nifty slight of tongue, Gaia, refers to this as a reclassification. A simple example being that they tend to pick early before the permitted time for a DOCG to pick. Why because higher vine density, lower yield per vine, flavour ripeness earlier, better natural acid etc. If they waited they could have DOCG, but, they would not be giving their fruit the best opportunity to shine.
What Separates Exceptional Wineries?
When you look at the great wine producers of the world they often have many things in common. Two of those being passion and continuity.
Passion just makes sense. Continuity well that’s a challenge. Good vignerons are always looking at their wines and vineyards, trying to make them yummier, healthier, more balanced, often by doing less, but, doing it better. Having the knowledge of the past, interrogating trends to find often simple ways to improve is critical. Seeing a vineyard in a cool years, hot years, observing the little patch of vineyard that is not performing and nurturing it. Some wineries employ precision agriculture with high tech imaging of vineyards, others, the eyes of trusted colleagues who have worked with them for decades. These eyes come to know each site, each vine and tend to them like they would a child. This philosophy has given them an intimate understanding of their terroir.
This is precisely the reason Gaja only employ permanent staff. Like many of the world’s great estates Gaja shifted from buying fruit to supplement production to buying and controlling great sites. In the early years as the Gaja Estate expanded, they were forced to purchase old run down houses with vineyards. Over time these have been restored and are now offered rent free to their staff.
The 20013 Vintage
The 2013 DOCG and Cru Barolo and Barbaresco wines are proving to be a delicious proposition for Nebbiolo lovers. Having tasted and devoured quite a few now, we’re in a position to call the vintage a success. Find out more in our Wine Bites Mag article “2013 Barolo & Barbaresco so far + 2 Tips on Assessing Vintage”
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