Gaja – Delightful Tuscan Treasure

January 2016

The Gaja winery was founded in 1859 in the Langhe district of the Piedmont region.  For generations, the family was known for their traditional production of Barbarescos and Barolos. When Angelo Gaja took the helm in the 1960’s, he adopted modern methods of winemaking and became known as “the man who dragged Piedmont into the modern world.” His innovations involved introducing barrique aging, hybrid French bottle formats and longer corks. 1978, Angelo replanted a vineyard of Nebbiolo with Cabernet Sauvignon not because he loved Cabernet, but because he wanted to introduce Italy as a major contender in the world market. If he could grow and produce an international varietal that could gain respect, then he could persuade the world of the greatness of Italy’s indigenous grapes. And it worked. Today Gaja is arguably the biggest name in Italian wine. By 1994, Angelo acquired its first property in Toscana and from there went on to plant more international varietals, making some of the best, most sought after Super Tuscans.

The Ca’Marcanda Magari is 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc. It’s dark and lush with ripe berries that make it ready to drink now, but definitely worth saving for some time to evolve.

Gaja Ca’Marcanda Magari Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($79.95) $49 special

Wine Advocate 94 points “Upped to a Bolgheri status (previously this wine was identified as a Toscana IGT), the 2012 Bolgheri Magari is simply delightful. This vintage shows extra heft and dimension that allows the wine to spread smoothly over the palate. Merlot is blended with Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon, and the taste profile in the 2012 vintage definitely favors the Merlot component. Soft cherry and dark berry segue to spice and moist tobacco. The structure of the two Cabernet varieties shows in the mouth where the wine is elegant and tight. It needs more time for bottle evolution. Angelo Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda estate has hit its stride with this latest set of wines. His management of the 2011 heat is impressive, resulting in wines with power and finesse. Ca’Marcanda never seems to get the attention it deserves, and the wines are indeed pricy. Nonetheless, they are among the finest expressions on the Tuscan coast.” ML

James Suckling 93 points “Bright and firm with sliced-lemon, blueberry and almond character throughout. Full body, firm tannins and a clean finish. Clean and fresh. Better in 2016.” Js

Wine Spectator 92 points “Rich and bursting with cedar, licorice, black currant and sandalwood aromas and flavors, this red is dense and chewy. Balanced and long, this begs for grilled steak or a roast. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2022. ” WS