Gaja Barolo

~ Angelo Gaja and his daughter who now runs the winery operations ~

Angelo Gaja.

The name has been synonymous with quality for generations.  Names like Barolo Sperss, Sori Tildin and Sori San Lorenzo turned heads. Those were wines that made people take notice.  Like E.F. Hutton, the wines spoke and people listened.   Recently, we sampled the most recent Barolo release from Gaja, the 2015 DaGromis Barolo.  This wine is not E.F. Hutton.  It’s Bernie Madoff.

Gaja dirt

~ Green harvested grapes on the Gaja Estate in Tuscany ~

Normally I’d provide some in depth winery history or transition to the basics of production for the wine in question.  However, in this case, it’s really not worth my time to write or your time to read.  Consider the following to be a cautionary tale.

With a desire to expand their vineyard holdings in Barolo, in 1995 Gaja acquired the vineyards that provide the fruit for this wine from the Gromis family.  Hence, the name of the wine.  The grapes come from two separate vineyards and are first barrique aged separately for 12 months.  After that time, the wines are blended and aged for 18 months in large botte.

The 2015 Gaja DaGromis Barolo is a light violet color that is almost completely transparent.  Normally, by itself, this wouldn’t be cause for a concern. However, in this case, it only adds to the fact pattern.

I decanted the wine about 90 minutes before dinner.  Immediately, the nose of the wine was pleasing and featured soft fruit, floral and light wood notes.  On the palate, the wine was almost non-existent.  The light to medium body is thin, tart and watery.  Trace flavors of soft sandalwood are marked with cranberry flavors which trail off faintly and are eclipsed by stemmy tannins.

I set the wine aside and opened something else with dinner.  5 hours after being decanted, I went back to the wine with a bit of cheese.  I expected the body to plump up but was summarily disappointed.  The palate was the same.  I can hear the apologists already.  Was it flawed? Was it a bad bottle?  No, it is just bad wine.  What is going on with Gaja?  This isn’t the first time this winery has let me down.

The next day I went back to the decanter which was at least half full.  Tried the wine again and it had completely fallen apart. Thin, watery, stemmy, tart……  Alas, it went down the drain.  To make it worse,  you’re supposed to pay $100 for this wine.  It’s not an entry level item that you can easily brush off as a bad experience.  I’m done.  I’m out.  Gaja will now have to convince me on their dime.  80 points, barely.  Find this wine if you must.

Gaja Barolo DaGromis

~ There’s nothing more to say ~

I voiced my frustration the night I was reviewing this on Twitter.  I wanted this to be great.  I wanted to cellar more for 10-15 years from now. But with this showing and at this price, it’s simply a fool’s errand. There are plenty more sure bets you can make.


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