Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gaja Tori San Lorenzo Barbaresco

How do you approach one of your most expensive wine bottles, from a vineyard a book has been written about? - With trepidation and high expectations, of course. Will the cork from this 1998 Gaja San Lorenzo come out in one? It did, so the start was promising.

The allure of the Nebbiolo grape is it can deliver the aromas of Pinot Noir and the structure of Cabernet, and age incredibly well. I decided to decant the wine for an hour prior to drinking. I did not go longer because I feared the wine with this age might lose flavour. I need not have worried. It actually drank better after a further hour.

The flavours were of blackberry, quite savoury and earthy as well. The wine is very elegant, which is Gaja's hallmark, and expanded beautifully in the mouth, stimulating all taste buds. It has a plush texture and good length.

The drawback? The wine showed just one expression - which was a good one, but I expected more complexity. Unfortunately, no wow factor. This is an excellent wine, but does it justify the price of about $500/bottle? I think not.

Score: 95/++


Josh Tuckfield said...

I have always wanted to try the wines from gaja but have never opened a bottle. what do you think of the drinking windows for a half bottle standard barbareso?

Alontin said...

Hi Josh,

I am missing a couple of important details to be able to give you a good answer. There is vintage variation, so the year has a fair bit to do with it. It also depends, how many bottles you have. If you have a number, you can obviously drink the wine over a few years.

I gather, though, you may have one bottle. As wine in a half bottle matures a bit more quickly, I would probably say 7-10 years. The standard Barbarescos I have tried were very good wines, but you should get a character with maturing elements after seven years. Gaja makes quite elegant wines, so the tannins need not be broken down as much as with some other Piedmont wines.Don't go over 12 years, I would think, you run the risk of losing some liveliness in the wine.

I hope this helps.