Angelo GAJA comes to town and NEW Barolo 2019 release

GAJA Tasting and GAJA Barolo 2019 release - wimbledon wine cellar

Today we release the highly anticipated GAJA Barolo Conteisa 2019 (98 - 100 pts) and GAJA Barolo Sperss 2019 (99 pts) in both bottles and magnums. This is the first premium cuvée release in 3 years due to such high standards of fruit required. 

2019 is regarded an excellent year for Barolo, the best since 2016 and one of the best in 20 years. The Wine Advocate regarded the vintage as "extraordinary". The Barolo wines from the 2019 vintage are classic and austere while young with firm tannins and high acidity and possess excellent aging potential.

Angelo Gaja was in London last week to host a special tasting of a lifetime with wines going back to 1958! It was a fascinating insight into his own incredible life and his predecessors, whilst also handing over the mantle to his son Giovanni and daughter Gaia. After this exceptional lunch and tasting at the Dorchester, we had the pleasure of Giovanni Gaja hosting a wonderful dinner and tasting with us at Wimbledon Wine Cellar, to support the launch their release of premium cuvées in the UK. As mentioned earlier, this is the first release in 3 years of a premium cuvée as they are fanatic about the quality of fruit, and they felt this year they had broken records in terms of the quality of fruit and so decided to bottle into these exceptional wines. The wines are better than ever, they really are, and the whole day was a wonderful success.

About the wines:

Conteisa 2019:

The 6ha Conteisa vineyard with its 65-year old vines is situated in Cerequio, in the municipality of La Morra. Piedmontese for ‘quarrel’, its name tells the story of a dispute which lasted over 100 years between La Morra and Barolo for the possession of Cerequio. Aged for 30 months in oak this opulent, longlived wine features expressive floral notes with touches of sweet wild cherry and delicate aromatic herbs.

“The 2019 Barolo Conteisa is a noble wine, with angular and drying tannins, as well as more mineral expression. Notes of medicinal herbs, crushed stones, and pure cherry lead to a wine that is more restrained right now but will be fantastic. Through the palate, it has compact but wonderful concentration and a driving structure and is more herbaceous, savory, and mineral than fruity and floral. It is outstanding. Drink the 2020s while waiting for the 2019s.” 98-100 | | May 2023

”A powerful and tannic wine with mushroom, forest flower, bark, and black tea aromas and flavors. Full and chewy. This is a young nebbiolo that needs time to soften. Better after 2029.” 94pts, James Suckling, June 2023

Sperss 2019:

In 1988, Gaja acquired this 12ha vineyard in one of Serralunga’s best areas and named it ‘Sperss’ meaning nostalgia, for the childhood memories of Angelo’s father Giovanni who harvested the site as a boy. After spending 30 months in barrel the result is a densely textured, dark and brooding wine laced with ripe red fruit notes and hints of liquorice and truffles.

“The 2019 Barolo Sperss is rich with dark mineral earth, black cherry, and Earl Grey tea. Long and mouthwatering, it has a powerful structure while retaining finesse. It is fantastically balanced, with gripping tannins, fresh acidity, and notes of forested earth and ripe red berries. A wine for the long haul, this is another great and noble wine to drink over the coming three decades..” 99 | | May 2023

“Very well integrated tannins that spread across the palate and give tension and form to the wine. Medium to full body. Chewy and juicy. Needs time to soften. Better after 2028.” 96 | James Suckling | July 2023

Read more about the wines on the links below:

GAJA Conteisa 2019 Bottles

GAJA Conteisa 2019 Magnums

GAJA Sperss 2019 Bottles

GAJA Sperss 2019 Magnums

Wines available from January 2024

A bit of history:

The Gaja family settled in Piedmont - northwest Italy - in the mid-seventeenth century. Five generations of the Gaja family have been producing wines in Piedmont’s Langhe hills since 1859, the year Giovanni Gaja, a local grape grower, founded the Gaja Winery in Barbaresco.  

Giovanni’s son, Angelo (grandfather of today’s Angelo Gaja), was blessed with ambition and vision. Clotilde Rey, whom he married in 1905, inspired him to establish the tradition to which the Gaja family have adhered ever since - total dedication to uncompromising quality. Angelo and Clotilde’s son, Giovanni, continued to follow the high standards his parents had set, producing wines that were renowned throughout Italy. Thanks to his Barbaresco, the winery’s flagship, Gaja wines achieved a leadership position in Italy. Giovanni increased vineyard holdings, acquiring Sorì Tildìn, Costa Russi, Sorì San Lorenzo, and Darmagi, thereby allowingthe Gaja family to produce wines of the highest quality exclusively from its own vineyards. 

Giovanni’s son, Angelo, joined the Winery in 1961 and combined his respect for the traditions of the Langhe with bold innovations in the vineyards and the cellars. Angelo lives in Barbaresco with his wife Lucia and their three children, Gaia, Rossana, and Giovanni who represent the fifth generation who continue the family tradition of producing the very best wines with total dedication to quality.  

Today, the Gaja Winery owns 96ha (240 acres) of vineyards in the Barbaresco district - Barbaresco and Treiso - and the Barolo district - Serralunga d’Alba and La Morra. 

The Gaja family took the decision in 1961 to only bottle estate grown fruit in order to uphold the highest standards of quality, but this did mean that they were unable to produce a Barolo. Roughly three decades after this decision was made, the Gaja family purchased their first Barolo vineyard in 1988, a 12 hectare vineyard in a prime location in Serralunga d’Alba that they affectionately named Sperss, which means nostalgia in the Piedmontese dialect and is a reference to Giovanni Gaja’s childhood memories of Serralunga.  

The Sperss vineyard is located in the Marenca-Rivette sub-area in the municipality of Serralunga. The land, arranged as an amphitheatre on a surface of 12 hectares, consists of very compact clay-calcareous marls and has south and south-west facing exposure with an average altitude of 370 m above sea level. The vines are 55 years old on average. 

In 1995 the Gaja family decided further develop their holdings in Barolo, and purchased a second vineyard in the appellation, this time in the township of La Morra. The majority of the vineyard lies in the famed Cerequio cru which is widely regarded as one of the best sites on the west side of the Barolo-Alba road. Cerequio is located between the townships of La Morra and Serralunga d’Alba, who contended with each other for 100 years over the coveted cru. It was this contest that the Gaja family chose to name their wine after; ‘Conteisa’ is Piedmontese for the Italian ‘contesa’, meaning the contended vineyard. The family bottled their first vintage of Conteisa in 1996. The land, facing south, consists of clay-calcareous marls with a considerable presence of sand. Covering a surface of 6 hectares with an average altitude of 380 m above sea level. The vines are 65 years old on average. 


Scarce snowfalls during the winter months were the precursor to a dry spell. January and February continued to be dry with average to low temperatures. These optimal conditions helped to protect against the onset of diseases. Abundant rainfall (200 mm) with average to low temperatures (15-17°C) occurred in April and May. At the end of June, the temperatures rose sharply (from 26 degrees to 41.5°C for about 3 days) and caused stress to the plants with signs of browning appearing on the leaves. From mid-July onwards, the first significant rains set in with 200 mm falling in Barbaresco. Temperatures settled at around 26-30° degrees for the rest of the summer. More rain fell resulting in a total of 800 mm from the beginning of the year to the end of August. The soil with a high water content plus the warm temperatures allowed the phenolic ripening to progress. We started the harvest in Barbaresco at the same time as the harvest in Barolo, but the harvest was shorter in Barolo, starting at the beginning of October and finishing on October the 20th. 

Vintage 2019 is regarded as an excellent one for Barolo, the best since 2016, and one of the best in the last 20 years. In the right hands, 2019 has provided wines of high quality with the ability to age for many years to come. The Wine Advocate rate the vintage ‘Extraordinary’, 96/100. Audrey Frick of states “Beginning with the 2019 vintage, this is an outstanding, classic year with linear, tension-packed wines possessing austere, compact structures that will demand bottle age. At their best, the 2019s are red-fruited and noble, angular wines with brilliant clarity and energy. Their structure is reminiscent of the 2016s, although they’re even more persistent and focused.”