An exciting day! Angelo Gaja in Norway for the very first time. Sold out early, with a mixture of the usual wine crowd, journalists, bloggers, and some new and curious wine lovers. Did it live up to the expectations? The wine, yes, the winemaker (the presentation) no. Wines were lively, lush, layered, and long, whereas the “lecture” was dull, flat, austere, and, eh.., long. It seemed like Angelo’s mind was elsewhere. Yes, he included his stories, his jokes, but with some distance to the audience. A pity, but I guess everybody can have a bad day. As for the wines, that was a whole different story. With some cementing the fact that Gaja wines are among the top wines in the world, and some providing a bit of a surprise.
Flight 1 (Promis, Magari, and Sito Moresco)
07 Promis: Light on the nose, berries, cherry, a hint of cigar box. Spicy ending, easy drinking wine.
07 Magari: Earthy, wet soil, hint of tobacco, and espresso on the nose. Silky on the palate, elegant, and spicy aromas. The flights winner, and the surprise of the night/tasting.
08 Sito Moresco: Lightly colored, fresh on the nose, easy drinking. In a way anonymous, kind of like the OK nice guy in your class that nobody ever noticed.
Flight II (Dagromis, Brunello di Montalcino, Barbaresco)
04 Dagromis: A question mark! Floral on the nose, but alcohol very present. High acidity, astringent, very hard on the palate. Could not get my hands around this one….
05 Brunello di Montalcino: Fruity on the nose, lots of plum. Soft and modern. Drinkable now.
07 Barbaresco: Light tar on the nose, plum, forest berries, floral, even licorice. Slow to open up in the glass. Very balanced, although tannins are “noticable”. Long. Stick in the cellar.
Flight III (Sperss and Barbaresco)
05 Barbaresco: Beautiful color. Fruit, fruit, fruit. Oil barrels (yes, I am from Norway) and a rose garden. Balanced, perfect acidity, and precise. Enjoy now and for the rest of your life.
Sperss 05: The perfect color for wine! Attractive, elegant, and looooong. Tempting to drink now, but should of course be left in the cellar for now…
Sperss 03: Darker in color than the 05. On the nose, it felt like swimming in a pool, surrounded by flowers. A hint of black truffle. Great wine, but somewhat astringent for now.
We left with the feeling that Gaja must have been tired, but not his wines. Magari the big surprise (recommend to try it, if you haven’t already), and both the Sperss’ and Barbaresco’s confirming Angelo Gaja and his winemaker Guido Rivella’s commitment to the highest quality. Also, the evening was a reminder of why I love Piemonte wines so much – in Angelo’s words: "Cabernet is John Wayne, Nebbiolo is Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni"