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Gaja is a winery from the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy that dates back to the 19th century. It was founded in 1859 by a Giovanni Gaja whose family had roots in Spain as well as Italy, though it has remained a relatively small, if renowned, winemaker until the mid-20th century when it expanded in both output and variety under Angelo Gaja - Giovanni's great grandson who has been influential in both adopting and himself inventing many modern innovations in winemaking. He is still the owner of the winery today, though much of the work of running it is undertaken by his two daughters. In addition to the vinery's Piedmontese holdings, Gaja has in recent years also expanded into Tuscany, where it now also owns several vineyards. It is also a well-regarded importer, bringing many high-end wines and spirits into Italy from around the world.
The most famous - and largest in terms of output - of the Gaja winery's wines are the Barbaresco and Barolo wines. They are both produced primarily from the Nebbiolo varietal, though several of the Barbaresco variations produced by Gaja, such as the Costa Russi, Sori Tildin and Sori San Lorenzo vineyards, can also include up to five percent of Barbera varietal grapes as well. It also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc as well as a Nebbiolo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon mix called Sito Moresco. In its Tuscan holdings, Gaja produces primarily Sangiovese wines as well as several blends under the Ca'Marcanda label as well.
Because of Angelo Gaja's uncompromising dedication to quality, almost every vintage sold under the Gaja label is guaranteed to be of good quality. In the years where the wine did not meet his exacting standards, such as 2002, 2003 and 2009, it was declassified and sold under a bulk label. 2010 and 2011 vintages are well-though of. Angelo himself is very fond of the 2010 and 2008 vintages and considers the 2004 vintage to be among the winery's best.
Specific Gaja wines that are highly recommended are the Barbaresco and the Barolo. In particular, the Sori San Lorenzo and the Sperss are both considered to be among Italy's top wines, though they can be quite pricy especially for the popular vintages.
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