Barbaresco Wine Region Guide

Redefining Elegance: How Angelo Gaja Elevated Barbaresco from Understudy to Star


Last updated: February 25, 2024


In the 20th century, Barbaresco played understudy to Barolo’s more famous and celebrated wines. In every conceivable aspect – reputation, quality, longevity – they were considered inferior to Barbaresco’s iconic neighbor. This is despite the remarkable energy and passion of Bruno Giacosa, who had shown that Barbaresco could have the intensity and elegance of Barolo back in the 1970s.

Yet consumers refused to listen. The region needed a showman – a charismatic promoter who could modernize Barbaresco’s global image. That man was Angelo Gaja: sharply dressed and smooth as hot vintage Merlot. Armed with years of experience, Gaja shook the appellation out of its inertia; he positioned his wines alongside First-Growth Bordeaux to the world’s press and critics, with prices to match! Controversy also initially surrounded his decision to import new barriques and international grape varieties to the vineyards of Piedmont – many have since followed Gaja’s example. The region owes him a great debt of gratitude as Barbaresco continues its wild ride into fame and fortune.


Des Mc Carthy

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