I remember meeting Angelo Gaja in Washington, D.C., more than 20 years ago. At the time he was just starting to gain notoriety for blending grape varieties and introducing Piedmont to controversial winemaking techniques. He declassified his wines and risked it all.
He was widely criticized by fellow winemakers, but eventually won out. He reduced the use of oak and added malolactic fermentation. His wines today sell for a lot of money -- his famous barbarescos can cost more than $300.
Although 78 years old today, he insists he hasn't retired even though his two daughters are operating the family business.
I was delighted to recently find Gaja Sito Moresco Langhe ($50), a red blend that includes nebbolio, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Unlike his barolos and barbarescos, this blend is ore approachable -- a niche the family must have wanted to accommodate fans who don't want to wait decades for their Gaja wines to mature.
Sito Moresco is named after a family who farmed this 25-acre estate in Barbaresco before it was purchased by Gaja Winery.
This is a delicious wine that continues the family's tradition of blending Bordeaux grape varieties with indigenous grapes.