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Gaja Gaia & Rey Langhe Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
The winery's historic Gaia & Rey Chardonnay is a wine that not only reshaped the legacy of the house itself, but also redefined Piedmont as one of the truly great winemaking regions of the world. Named after Lucia and Angelo Gaja's daughter, Gaia Gaja, and Angelo Gaja's grandmother Clotilde Rey (the family's great matriarch and one of its most forward-thinking visionaries), Gaia & Rey was first bottled in 1983 and released the following year. With this historic bottling, Angelo Gaja showed the world that exceptional white wines could be produced in the Langhe Hills, where red wines had been produced almost exclusively before. He also delivered to the world what is now considered one of the greatest white wines of Europe, a truly remarkable accomplishment in a country where red grapes have historically dominated the realm of fine wine. The 2017 vintage proves that great quality sometimes comes from scarcity. Three days of frost at the end of April set back the crop size by 10 percent, then high heat in summer and lack of rainfall presented challenges in managing the vineyards. The good news is that with strict selection and our no-compromise approach, the fruit harvested was healthy and excellent white wines were the result, despite the drop in production.
This wine was first made in 1983, and back then, no malolactic fermentation occurred. Jump forward in time to the 2017 Langhe Gaia & Rey, and this is another vintage in which malo did not start. (Partial malolactic returns in 2018). Since those first years of production, the oak usage has also been tweaked, now with less barrique in favor of more botte grande. Thanks to these changes, the aromatic profile of this wine veers toward citrus and rich tropical fruit, especially in a warm vintage such as this. However counterintuitive, this edition also shows a very bright and precise touch of acidity that serves to give the wine balanced and mouth-cleansing salinity.
- Wine Advocate 93+ Points
Located in Piedmont in northwestern Italy, the GAJA winery is widely considered to be one of the greatest estates in the world, producing coveted and collectible labels. From its classic Barbaresco and Barolo and its single-vineyard bottling, to its ground-breaking Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, GAJA is a pioneer and guardian of tradition, a legacy that continues to reshape the standard for excellence in the world of winemaking today.
Gaja Costa Russi Nebbiolo is made from 100 percent Nebbiolo.
Costa (Italian for the side of the hill facing the sun) Russi (the nickname of the former owner) is ruby red in color, with a captivating aroma of blackberries, violets and roasted coffee beans. The purity of the palate is layered with dark fruit flavors and complex tannins.
STYLE: Complex, Elegant
FLAVOR: Blackberry, Violet, Roasted Coffee Beans
The 2016 Barbaresco Costa Russi is a more floral, sappy Barbaresco, offering textbook notes of black cherries, rose petals, sappy herbs, and violets. It's one of the more vibrant, juicy, and perfumed wines in the lineup and has medium to full body, bright yet integrated acidity, and the same incredibly polished yet certainly present tannins found in all these 2016s. This is another elegant 2016 that never puts a foot wrong.
-Jeb Dunnuck 98+ Points
The 2016 Barbaresco Costa Russi is ripe, creamy and enveloping, as it so often is, and yet also preserves the super classic sense of structure that runs through all these wines. In 2016, Costa Russi has an extra touch of mid-palate sweetness that gives the wine its sense of immediacy. Succulent red cherry, rosewater, kirsch, mint and dried flowers meld together in the glass. Soft and sensual, with tons of allure, Costa Russi is another winner from Gaja. Time in the glass brings out the wine's density and tannins, both of which it has in spades.
- Antonio Galloni 98
This delicate red features floral, strawberry, cherry, currant and loamy earth aromas and flavors, showing terrific balance. A line of firm tannins adds support, and the finish is long and expansive. Best from 2023 through 2045. 175 cases imported.
-Wine Spectator 97 Points
Gaja Darmagi Cabernet is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Angelo Gaja forever changed the world’s notion of Piedmont wines when he released this historic wine for the first time in 1985 (with the 1982 vintage), made from Bordeaux varietals planted in the township of Barbaresco. According to the often told legend, Angelo Gaja’sfather exclaimed “darmagi!” upon learning that his son had planted Cabernet Sauvignon in vineyards previously devoted to Piedmont’s traditional Nebbiolo grape. Akin to the French quel dommage, the Piedmontese expression darmagi means what a pity! Or what a shame!. With his characteristic respect for tradition and those who came before him, the younger Gaja decided to call this wine Darmagi, a homage to his family’s legacy with an eye toward the future.
You'll find more dark fruit and more freshness here than in many of the other offerings from Gaja, with a dark, deep inky appearance. The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Darmagi is a 100% expression of the grape, whereas past editions saw tiny parts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The fruit comes from a 2.5-hectare vineyard planted in 1978 directly under the town of Barbaresco, setting the stage for an elegant rendition of Cabernet Sauvignon with a fresh and contained style. The wine shows a nice balance between the extraction you get from the grape skins and the rich succulence you get from the pulp inside the berries. In the 2017, you taste more of the skins, and in the 2018, Gaia Gaja comments, you taste more of the pulp. The 2016 offers both, countering each other with precision. Whole grapes are pressed very gently, and the wine is aged in oak for 18 months, with less emphasis on new oak now. In fact, only 30% of the total sees new oak, and a greater percentage of the wine goes into large oak casks instead.
- Wine Advocate 95 Points
With its maritime influence, California's Monterey region has an extended growing season that yields wines with full flavor development and great acid balance.
Mandolin Chardonnay has a lush tropical fruit core, balanced by crisp acidity and nicely integrated oak.
The grapes for this Chardonnay were sourced from vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA of Monterey County, where high winds, dry days, and bay fogs create a cool, but very long, growing season. These growing conditions are ideal for cool-climate grapes such as Chardonnay, and lead to full, forward fruit flavors and ideal acidity. Grapes were harvested at an ideal balance of sugar and acid, and the wine was fermented in 1-2 year-old French oak barrels. This wine did not undergo malo-lactic fermentation, thus preserving its bright acidity. Total Acidity: 0.70 pH: 3.45 Residual Sugar: 0.51 g/liter
After a rigorous control of maturity during the summer, harvesting is carried out as soon as the sugar content of the grapes is optimal to allow the most natural winemaking. The harvested grapes are then transported to the winery Le Clos l'Evêque, where they are pressed out immediately on the pneumatic press. After a low temperature static settling for a day, the must is intoned in 500 liter oak barrels in the cellar where they will ferment slowly at low temperatures. Then patiently during the winter the wines will evolve: malolactic fermentation and stirring of the lees will follow one another to give at the end of spring, wines of great finesse.
"A touch of chalk surrounds the lemony notes of wheat bran on the nose of this wine. Chalkiness continues on the smooth, textured and slightly creamy palate, which has lemony overtones. Freshness makes for a bright yet smooth finish. - Anne KREBIEHL MW"
Wine Enthusiast Magazine (December 2020), 91 pts
Flanagan Chardonnay Bacigalupi is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Just south of the winery, Bacigalupi Vineyard straddles Westside Road in the upper reach of Russian River Valley. The 125 acre vineyard encompasses a range of terroir, from heavier valley floor soil along the Russian River to alluvial clay loam on the rolling hillsides. The fruit is sourced from a superb block of 25 year-old Wente Clone vines located on the western slope of the site. Bacigalupi was the source of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that, famously, beat the French wines at the "Judgement of Paris" in 1976. Bacigalupi Chardonnay has a nose of lemon zest and vanilla bean. The palate opens with red pear and Meyer lemon, and brioche toast and honey comb notes on the finish. Like well-made Chardonnay from great vineyards around the world this wine benefits from getting some air, will age for years, and is best when served chilled around 50 degrees. This wine will evolve in the bottle for many years to come. A terrific wine from one of Sonoma County's top sites for Chardonnay.
"Fresh and floral, this bold, layered wine tastes of green apple, lemon and lime, with a pleasing bite of tartness on the midpalate. The acidity is persistent and supportive of the fleshy full-bodied nature of the tropical richness the wine otherwise presents. - Virginie Boone"
- Wine Enthusiast (August 2019), 91 pts
Fullerton Five Faces Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Five FACES is an acronym for the Fullerton family – Filip, Alex, Caroline, Eric, and Susanne. The wines blend fruit from multiple vineyards in Willamette Valley, mainly in the north of the valley with one to the west in the Van Duzer Corridor. A full representation of the Willamee Valley’s soil types is on display with one volcanic vineyard, two loess (windblown) vineyards, and two sedimentary vineyards. The vineyards range in elevation from 550-700 feet.
Honeydew melon, japanese pear, apricot, honeysuckle, apple-blossom, nutmeg, brioche, and lemon curd. Melon is echoed on the palate with notes of lemon, tangerine, toasted almonds, and fennel. Lovely and integrated acidity balances the palate weight from 17 months on the lees.
17 months in 10% new French Oak
Paris with creamy dishes and cheeses. Chicken and Turkey.
Tasting Note: This very aromatic Syrah has hints of black pepper, dark berries and herbs and a bloody, earthy character on the nose. The palate is full-bodied with velvety but structured tannins and a balanced natural acidity. The finish is fresh, long and supple. Best served at 16 to 18 °C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting when drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling.
Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled...until now. "We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it's been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical," she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings.
"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficult distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish. - Neal Martin"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, November 2015), 93 pts
"Similar to the Schist Syrah in its weight and meatiness, the Iron Syrah offers a more elegant, immediate appeal. Dark red plum, smoked meat, and savory herbs are seamlessly integrated on a lush, juicy and firmly structured palate, finishing very very long."
- iwinereview.com (January 2016), 95 pts
Another magical Cabernet Sauvignon from this team, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley comes from a blend of sites and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up mostly in new French oak. This vivid purple-hued beauty offers a kaleidoscope-like array of red and black currants, spice box, lead pencil shavings, crushed stone, and assorted tobacco and leafy herb nuances. These carry to full-bodied Cabernet with incredibly purity of fruit, building tannins and structure, flawless balance, and a monster of a finish that won't quit. It should keep for 20-25 years with no issues.
-Jeb Dunnuck 98+ Points
The capsule of the 2018 celebrates the 40th vintage, otherwise unnoted specifically to keep the consistency of the label. The nose is soft and delineated with lifted dark red and black fruit essences that waft with a delicate floral lift. Showing a softer and compact frame that delivers fine and focused aromas, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon packs complex layers in the nose, with a fresh bouquet of red and purple flowers, violets, lilac and sakura before overflowing with a fruit bowl of aromatics, including black raspberry, black cherry and juicy plum with blackberry nuances, all shining through with a thoughtful frame of French oak tones. Medium to full-bodied at 14.8% alcohol, the palate bursts with precision and finesse and there's an elegant frame that offers lively acidity and succulent, fine-grained tannins. The 40th vintage marks a brilliant success for Quilceda Creek, attaining a lighter chassis that captures the same magic without being overly generous. The 2018's tighter frame has allowed the wine to express layers of beautiful dark red fruit flavors and supple oak spices that make the wine slightly spicy with cinnamon essence while offering the same precision without any sacrifices to the overall experience. Ultimately, the wine glides to a remarkably long and textured finish that will last for a couple of decades. Bravo! This is another successful vintage for Quilceda Creek. Run, don't walk to get this into your cellar!
-Wine Advocate 98+ Points
Aromas of black raspberry, dried herb, cherry, incense, cranberry and spice explode from the glass. The flavors undulate across the palate, creamy in feel, with layer upon layer of fruit and barrel flavors. It is completely seamless, with outrageous balance—the quintessential hammer in a velvet glove. The finish carries off into the distance. Best after 2032.
-Wine Enthusiast 98 Points