Gaja switches denomination

  • Thursday 12 April 2001

Former Decanter Man of the Year Angelo Gaja (pictured) has announced a change of denomination which will remove the names Barbaresco and Barolo from the labels of his single vineyard wines.

From the forthcoming 1996 vintage the cru Sorì San Lorenzo, Costa Russi, Sorì Tildin and Sperss, together with a new single vineyard selection from the Barolo production area called Conteisa, will be designated Langhe DOC Nebbiolo. The unexpected move has puzzled commentators and prompted much speculation as to Gaja's supposed motives, not to mention a certain amount of more or less veiled criticism.

In an official release, Gaja relates the decision to what he considers a problem of market perception. Since the late 1960s the Gaja estate has produced two lines of Barbaresco; on one hand the mono-crus, on the other a wine assembled in the traditional way using grapes from various parts of the property.

The single vineyard wines, which since 1988 have also included a Barolo, have attained a huge reputation but Gaja now feels that they have undermined the prestige of his traditional Barbaresco, making it appear the "poor relation".

The aim of the new labelling policy is to redress the balance by reserving the DOCG exclusively for the original Barbaresco, which Gaja describes as "by far my most important wine", and registering the single vineyard

selections under the varietal DOC.

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