Gaja is one of the stars of the world wine scene, a producer that is widely credited with transforming not just the image and international reputation of its native Piedmont region, but of Italy as a whole. It has had a significant impact on the way that Italian wine is grown, made, priced, distributed and marketed.
Gaja, founded in 1859, with only two hectares by Giovanni Gaja, whose ancestors originally came from Spain in the 17th Century, is now run by Gaia Gaja, the fifth generation of the family to make wine in Barbaresco. Each generation saw expansion, although Angelo Gaja, who took over full-time in 1970, is often credited with the estate’s more recent success. Angelo is sometimes regarded as one of Italy’s leading modernizers – the counterpoint to Bruno Giacosa, Barbaresco’s other superstars.
Gaja is best known for the reds it makes in Piedmont and Tuscany, but around 8 percent of its production is white. There are four vini bianchi in the Gaja portfolio: Vistamare (a blend of Vermentino and Viognier), Alteni di Brassica (a Sauvignon Blanc), Rossj Bass (a Chardonnay with 5 percent Sauvignon Blanc) and, best of all, Gaia & Rey Chardonnay, which ages remarkably well.