There is no doubt that Gaja today is a most famous brand of Italian wine in the world: already in 1985 his Barbaresco was defined “the finest wine ever made in Italy”, and in 1998, Angelo Gaja, was awarded by the international wine press “man of the year”.
Angelo is Piemontese but he is also a constantly active person, looking for new challenges, determined to produce and make his wines known around the world.
Having joined the company in 1961, Angelo is dedicated to developing it, modernizing it, but also dealing with the intrinsic difficulties in making wine in Barbaresco. No Barbaresco in 1984, no Cru in 1987, no bottling in 1991, 1992, and 1994. All this while he began to produce, always in the early 90s, in Montalcino, the wines of his new winery Pieve di Santa Restituta.
Enthusiast because of the results achieved and smelling the next big thing in the territory of Bolgheri, he throws himself headlong into the search for land. In Bolgheri viticulture enjoys sun, sea, wide temperature ranges and, above all, a historian who is just beginning to show how you can make wines of great quality on site… it’s the right time to buy!
Angelo considers making wines in Bolgheri to be “a gravy train” compared to the Langhe’s climatic difficulties and, moreover, he identifies a soil composed exactly like that of the legendary Tenuta San Guido, from which Sassicaia is produced.
To buy that plot of a hundred hectares, Angelo makes up and down, from Piedmont to Bolgheri, for almost a year, constantly facing denial from the owners to cede their property. It is from this stalemate that the future name of the winery will be born: Ca’ Marcanda, which in Piedmont means “house where people bargain”, in memory of the exhausting negotiations.
Once in possession of the plot, the idea of Angelo is to start with a production of about 300,000 bottles to reach, at full capacity, the million. For this reason the winery, designed by the architect Giovanni Bò from Asti, is initially almost dispersive in size.
This aspect is not noticeable at first glance, since what emerges from the embankment, planted with olive trees, is only the area dedicated to offices, the tip of the iceberg. The vinification, aging, hospitality and tasting areas are all under the embankment, and naturally benefit from an ideal temperature, without recourse to energy other than the thermal of the soil.
The vines are divided into several parcels, planted with Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (17%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Syrah (9%) and small shares of Sangiovese. To obtain elegant and not too intense wines, the planting layout is a 2×0.8 meters, with a yield per plant of 1.2 kg of grapes. Elegance is the “signature” of Gaja, and also in these wines it is perceived with great clarity, as they are also learning the three sons of Angelo, Gaia, Rossana and Giovanni, who support their father in a progressively more demanding way.
Among the wines of the winery, the Bolgheri Rosso Ca’Marcanda is almost a must for those who love Bolgheri wines whispered, on tiptoe.
It is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Cabernet Franc (10%) macerated and left to ferment for separate plots. Once the various wines are obtained, they are blended and rest for 18 months in barrique and 12 in bottle.
The 2018 vintage, paired with a juicy shoulder roast, showed off a full ruby with a perfectly under control consistency, with a range of scents that opened on notes of Crème de Cassis, Mulberry, Dried Fig and Cowhide leather, followed by potpourri of Violetta, “Velvet Alibi” Rose, Licorice Sprig, Red Pepper, with final echoes of Latakia Tobacco, Vinyl, Goudron and Palo Santo incense.
If the smell suggested great expectations, the palate has kept them in full! The main protagonist is the softness, so velvety and never opulent to send in ecstasy, with an equally measured amplitude, seasoned with the savory/iodine part and pushed up by a tannin whose elegance would deserve the inclusion among the study subjects of the enology schools.
What about the surgical return of all, without exception, the olfactory scents, through the nasal back? The Rose, the Crème de Cassis, the Tobacco and the Palo Alto incense stand out clearly from the delicate ensemble, escorting the sip up to a standing ovation closure, for length and goodness.
I know, the combination of music/wine is a given but try to sip this wine listening to a selection of Standard Blues and then you will tell me.
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