Vintage Piedmont Tasting featuring Angelo Gaja Wines and White Truffles with Special Guest Dr. Robert Maliner

Saturday, October 23, 2021 - 07:30 PM

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"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." 
Lucille Ball

 

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There is nothing that is quite as decadent as white truffles but if you are going to pair a wine with this unique culinary experience Nebbiolo would be my first, second and third choice.  The Piedmont is one of the world's most unique grape growing regions and is the only area where the Nebbiolo varietal makes a high-quality age worthy wine.  This is also the only part of the world where you find the white truffle.   These truly unique fungi are not only very intense in flavor but also incredibly expensive pound for pound the most expensive food in the world today.  This is one of the only times when it comes to food and wine where the food almost always costs more than the wine here at our “Once in a Lifetime” events at the Wine Watch.

Join us as we experience one of the rare culinary treats alongside one of the great wine producers of the Piedmont with a selection of every top wine that Angelo Gaja makes in the Piedmont along with one of the great older vintage wines from this producer- Gaja Barbaresco Vecchia Reserva, In the 40’s and 50’s Gaja’s top Barbaresco was the Vecchia Riserva, a selection of the best lots that were given long aging on large Slavokian barrels.   Since no vintage appeared on the label, one cannot be sure whether a given bottle is from the 1940’s or 1950’s but its production ended by 1956.   Bottles of Vecchia Riserva drunk over the years have consistently been a great bottle of old Barbaresco.   Toni Lampasone will be making a special tasting menu to accompany the wines.  The fee for this event is $795.00 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

Gaja and Friends and White Truffle Dinner at Wine Watch

Saturday, October 23rd
7:30 PM

Pre-1956 Gaja Barbaresco Reserve 
 1964 Gaja Barbaresco
1964 Fontanafredda Barolo
1978 Gaja Barbaresco  
 1982 Gaja Barbaresco Sori Tildin Magnum
 1988 Gaja Barbaresco
 1998 Gaja Barbaresco                     
 1998 Gaja Barbaresco Sori Tildin                        
 2011 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletrto                          
2011 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto Riserva Vigna La Rocch (red label)

 

Menu
Parmesan Reggiano and Prociutto di Parma
Egg Flan with White Truffle
Gnocci with White Truffle and Kerry Gold Butter
Wahoo Sashimi with Fontodi Olive Oil and White Truffles
Osso Bucco Ravioli with White Truffle Creme Sauce
Chocolate Bark

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $795 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.  Please let us know when you make your reservation if you do NOT like veal and Toni will be glad to make you chicken.

 

A bit about Gaja Winery:

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He has been called a restless genius; others have been less charitable in their characterizations of Angelo Gaja (pronounced GUY-YAH).  Gaja is a fourth generation winegrower from Barbaresco, one of Italy's premier wine districts in Piedmont in northern Italy.  As controversial as Angelo Gaja is, nobody disputes his great talents as a winemaker or his ability to generate interest in his wines.  Gaja in his relatively short career has become the highest profile grower in Piedmont as well as Italy's most famous winemaker.  He has accomplished this through consummate skill at both winemaking and public relations.  He describes himself as "vain"; we translate that to mean that he is not the least bit reluctant to be an unabashed publicist for his own wines.  Gaja has traveled extensively throughout the world hyping the Gaja name while also trying to learn more about how he might apply new technology in order to improve his own wines.  He first visited California for this purpose in 1974, and it is presumed that it was there that he became fascinated with the "barrique" concept - the idea of aging his reds in small oak barrels.  He has broken new ground in many areas, and even his critics begrudgingly admit that the results speak for themselves.  Gaja is now regarded as Piedmont's leading producer of Barbaresco, and his wines command prices that rival those charged anywhere in the world.

The Gaja firm has been bottling wines since the early 1900's; in 1964 a decision was made to contract the size of the Gaja winery and produce only wines from the winery's own vineyards.  The fact that the Gaja winery produces only estate wines is a most salient point in the gospel according to Gaja, for he feels that the consumer is willing to pay more for "authentic Gaja".  Gaja is the largest private owner of vineyards in the Barbaresco zone with 153 acres.  About half the annual Gaja production of 22,000 cases is Barbaresco - the rest is split between Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, a nouveau-style Nebbiolo called Vinot, several Chardonnays, a Cabernet, and a Barolo.  The Cabernet and Chardonnay have been very controversial in this part of Italy where tradition and conservative values reign supreme.  To plant foreign grapes in Barbaresco was heresy to some; but Gaja defends against those charges by pointing out that in the 1890's - before phylloxera destroyed the vineyards - there were Cabernet and Chardonnay vines planted in Piedmont.  Even the retired Giovanni Gaja, Angelo Gaja's father (who is now said to like the Cabernet planted in the Gaja vineyards), referred to the Cabernet plantings as "darmagi" - "such a pity."  He felt that it was a pity that Cabernet - not the native Nebbiolo - was being planted in a prime vineyard site by his son.  The name stuck, and Gaja's Cabernet is called Darmagi.  We have tasted the Chardonnay and the Cabernet with Gaja and on several other occasions and have been impressed with their quality; their price, however, is extremely ambitious.

In 1988 Gaja purchased a Barolo vineyard in the Marenca e Rivette area of the village of Serralunga.  The property was well known to Gaja, for his father often purchased fruit from this vineyard in order to produce Barolo in the 1940's and 1950's.  This long standing desire to return to Barolo was reflected in the name Gaja selected for the Barolo.  The name "Sperss" is an expression in Piedmontese dialect that translates to "profound longing or nostalgia" (in this case nostalgia for Barolo.)  The first two releases - the 1988 and 1989 Sperss - have met extraordinary critical reception.  The 1989 was selected as the number two wine in the TOP 100 wines of 1993 and scored a (96) in The Wine Spectator!

Gaja has made his name with Barbaresco.  Both Barbaresco and Barolo are produced from the Nebbiolo grape within a few miles of each other in Piedmont.  Gaja ages his Barbaresco in small new oak barrels, and he manages to produce a wine that takes on a certain subtlety and suppleness without losing the personality of the Nebbiolo grape.  One way Gaja manages to do this is by steam cleaning the inside of his brand new oak barrels in order to remove some of the oak extract they might otherwise impart to the new wine - a rather shocking technique that works!  His Barbarescos have a unique personality for other reasons as well.  He picks his grapes late for more extract and color, but he also strives to produce a harmonious wine with more aroma and flavor and less tannin.  These and many other factors are what make Gaja Barbarescos unique and sought out by connoisseurs all over the world.  In addition to Gaja's regular Barbaresco, he bottles three "crus" - but only in great years.  His single vineyard Barbarescos - "Sorì San Lorenzo", "Sorì Tildìn", and "Costa Russi" - are quite possibly the best produced in Italy and among the world's noblest red wines.  Over the past decade Angelo Gaja has really excelled with his Barbaresco - producing fabulous world-class wines in vintages such as 1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997,  1998, 1999, 2000 and this 2001.  The Piedmont has seen an unprecedented string of outstanding vintage from 1996-2001.  All three of Gaja's single cru Barbarescos rated a (95) or better in The Wine Spectator; in both 1996 & 1997 and in 1998 two of the three rated (95) or better, an incredible track record for the last three releases.  Generally of the three crus produced by Gaja, the Sorì San Lorenzo is the slowest maturing, the longest-lived, and the least approachable in its youth.  The Costa Russi is the most approachable when young, while the Sorì Tildìn falls between the two.

In The Gambero Rosso (the Italian wine Bible) Gaja is the only producer in the Piedmont with a rating of “Two Stars”, indicating the number of times his wines have received the coveted “Three Glass” award.  Gaja’s wines have received twenty-one (a star for every ten “Three Glass” wine).  They call Gaja “Here we are in the presence of what is undoubtedly the best Italian winery, to judge from the quality of its wines; colleagues and wine critics from all over the world admit as much.”