December 2004, Score: 94
The merits and faults of the 1997 vintage have been debated endlessly. Some people love the wines for their rich round fruit, others find the wines atypical and overly ripe. My own feeling is that the vintage is simply uneven, and that there are exceptional wines that capture the best of the vintage and there are overripe, unbalanced wines that are by comparison much less complex. Without a doubt the1997 Gaja wines from the Barbaresco zone are among the very best wines of the vintage. Drink 2007-2017
Piedmont is located in the north western corner of Italy. Though several grape varieties are prominent such as Dolcetto, Barbera and Moscato, it is Nebbiolo that reigns supreme. It produces wines that are not particularly deep in colour, yet they are perfumed, powerful and can age for many years. Due to the ethereal nature of the Nebbiolo grape and the numerous single vineyard wines, many compare top examples to grand cru Burgundies of the Côte de Nuits.Mountainous, its vineyards are cut into the hillsides forming terraces reminiscent of the Mosel Valley in Germany and the northern Rhone Valley in France. The two most notable appellations are Barolo and Barbaresco.