Angelo Gaja is one of Italy’s most renowned, most dynamic wine personalities and his impact on viticulture there in the last 30 years cannot be overstated. Some credit him with putting Italy at the forefront of today’s wine making nations.
Angelo Gaja introduced several practices to Piedmont, starting in 1961 by experimenting with green harvesting and single vineyard production, which begin with Sori San Lorenzo in 1967, Sori Tildin in 1970 and Costa Russi in 1978. He introduced malocatic fermentation to Piedmont and from 1975-1976 started using French barriques, although by modernists standards he is still reserved in their use. Gaja transported thermo-controllable fermentation equipment and eventually used French grape varieties.
Gaja like most innovators also brought its share of the polemic, when he intentionally declassified his DOCG Barbaresco and Barolo’s, citing his reason as the desire to be able to introduce small amounts of Barbera to some of his blends: in reality Gaja can do and does whatever he likes, as his wines are some of the most revered in the world. The following wines are made in minuscule quantities and are all 95% Nebbiolo and 5% Barbera, spending 12 months in barriques and again 12 months in large oak casks, classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, due to the use of Barbera.