2016 Gaja Barbaresco

Year: 2016
Appellation: Piedmont
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 96
Vinous Media: 96
James Suckling: 96
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
Wine Enthusiast: 98
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
Price :
$219.95
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"This gorgeous red evokes rose, strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit, shaded by tobacco, tar and wild thyme notes. Pure, sleek and intense, with a firm base of tannins and vibrant acidity for support. This should evolve beautifully. Be patient. Best from 2022 through 2043. 1,800 cases imported. -BS" (WS)

"I tasted this wine over two sittings, one at the winery and one at my home office a few weeks later. Although I can't claim any extraordinary differences between the two sessions, I noticed a few minimal shifts that are essential to understanding the wine's future aging ability. The 2016 Barbaresco starts off slow at first, showing a small margin of aromatic evolution in the glass. But come back two hours later, and you can almost hear the soft sounds of the symphony playing just below the surface. The 2016 vintage is characterized by the solid intensity and firmness of its aromas, which transcend fruit and veer toward balsamic herb, licorice, tar and smoke instead. The tannins offer a moment of sweetness and softness, before you are aware of their undeniable firmness. In all, there is a certain glossiness or satiny quality to the mouthfeel that underlines the wine's carefully crafted integration. I would describe this as a classic and also a somewhat austere Barbaresco that fully deserves extra cellar time to stretch those tight muscles and grow in volume. This wine will award those who wait.

During my visit to the Gaja estate this May, I preview tasted samples of the single-vineyard 2016 Barbaresco Costa Russi, the 2016 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo, the 2016 Barbaresco Sorì Tildìn, the 2015 Barolo Conteisa, the 2015 Barolo Sperss and the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Darmagi. I tasted these wines before they went into bottle, and they were not ready for review. I am returning to Barbaresco later this summer and will deliver my full notes from the Gaja family in a second report to follow. For now, I am only publishing a review of the 2016 Barbaresco and the white wines." (WA)

"Gaja's 2016 Barbaresco is positively stellar. A wine of poise and grace, the 2016 has so much to offer. Expressive spice and floral notes open up first, but what really stands out is the wine's nuance and delineation. There is a sense of translucency to the 2016 that is impossible to miss. Sweet red cherry, mint, cinnamon and rose petal develop in the glass, adding further shades of nuance. Quite simply, the 2016 is one of the very finest Gaja Barbarescos in recent memory. This is such a gorgeous wine. Don't miss it." (VM)

"This is all about finesse with power. Such great length here with ever so refined tannins and precise strawberry, cedar, dried-rose and mineral character. Medium body. Fresh and vivid finish. Hard not to drink now, but wait until at least 2021." (JS)

"The 2016 Barbaresco showed beautifully, with a classical yet seductive and sweetly fruited style that's going to evolve gracefully. Medium ruby-hued, with a core of sweet red fruits balanced by classic dried flowers, licorice, asphalt, and medicinal herbs, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness that carries impress sweet fruit as well as building tannins. Barbaresco doesn't get more classic, and while it has a sunny, sweetly fruited style, it also has ample underlying tannins and structure, so give bottles 4-5 years. It should deliver the goods for two decades or more." (JD)

"Cellar Selection, Aromas of rose, red berry and eucalyptus mingle with whiffs of exotic spice on the gorgeous, fragrant red. Loaded with finesse and tension, the elegant, structured palate delivers crushed raspberry, white pepper and star anise set against fresh acidity and taut, lithe tannins. It's already compelling, but hold for even more complexity. Drink 2022–2036. -Kerin O’Keefe " (WE)

Winery Notes:
The centerpiece of the portfolio, GAJA Barbaresco is a testament to the Gaja family's historic commitment to the appellation and its belief that Barbaresco stands proudly with the great growing regions of the world. The GAJA winery stopped sourcing fruit from other growers in 1961 in order to ensure the utmost quality in its wines. In all, GAJA Barbaresco is produced using grapes grown in 14 vineyards in the village of Barbaresco.

In 2012, the single-vineyards were not bottled, as they were not quite up to GAJA standards. The flagship Barbaresco benfitted from this situation as it received grapes from the Sori San Lorenzo, Sori Tildin and Costa Russi vineyards together with grapes from 5 out of 14 vineyards usually involved in producing this wine.