Gaja   Sori San Lorenzo

2005 Sori San Lorenzo

By Gaja

2005 Sorì San Lorenzo from Gaja, Italy

The 2005 Sorì San Lorenzo from Gaja is a striking testament to an exceptional vintage. When Angelo Gaja took the helm of his family's winery in Barbaresco in 1961, he ascended with grand ambitions for Piedmontese wines. The 2005 vintage of Sorì San Lorenzo, his signature single-vineyard offering, perfectly encapsulates Gaja's masterful cultivation and winemaking finesse.


Expression of unique terroir and meticulous craftsmanship

The legacy of fine Italian wines takes centre stage in Gaja's work, and the 2005 Sorì San Lorenzo bears that bold statement proudly. Crafted predominantly with Nebbiolo grapes, it firms up a solid structure and flavour profile that weathered admirably through the unseasonably cool year. The climatic idiosyncrasies of 2005 prompted a slower ripening process but consequently endowed the grapes with superior aromatic complexity and tannin development.

Indeed, the wine exudes intense aromas of plum, blackcurrant, and dark cherry married with notes of dried rose petals and violets -- a trademark bouquet of Nebbiolo. Gaja's specialised winemaking technique further amplifies these attributes while integrating elegant layers of oak and earthy spice from eighteen months aging in barriques.


The artistry encapsulated in a bottle

The gift of the relatively cool 2005 growing season to Piedmont is in its generosity towards the meticulous viticulturists who capably accommodated its surprises. Few expressed this situation better than Gaja, fashioning this vintage to outshine many contemporaries in delightful depth, balance, and elegance.

Investors wise to the world of fine wines would do well to acknowledge this particular highlight in Gaja's illustrious repertoire. The palette of intense flavours, underscored by subtler nuances, make for an offering that has not only impressed upon release but also promises multitudes in terms of cellaring potential.

Whether for personal indulgence or the astute anticipation of appreciation, the 2005 Sorì San Lorenzo from Gaja is an exemplar of Italy's - and indeed the world's - consummate wine craftsmanship.

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Scores and tasting notes


Gaja’s 2005 Sori San Lorenzo is a dense, dark beauty of sensual, irresistible charm. This richly-textured, expansive wine flows with masses of ripe dark fruit, menthol, licorice and mineral in a sumptuous, full-bodied style. The use of oak is simply masterful here and the wine boasts extraordinary balance. I am not sure how he does it, but Angelo Gaja is easily Italy’s most consistently brilliant producer. For those who can afford it, this is another gem from Gaja. Readers should interpret my drinking windows with a large grain of salt. The 1990 Sor? San Lorenzo is still young, and the 1978 is amazingly fresh, so it is anyone’s guess as to when this wine might be actually “ready.” In the meantime, this wine is sure to provide enormous pleasure to those lucky enough to own it. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2035. I was blown away by Angelo Gaja’s 2005 wines from Barbaresco. When all is said and done, Gaja may have well produced not the wine, but rather the wines of the vintage in a year that was excellent but not profound. While Gaja’s 2005 don’t have the explosive, multi-dimensional personalities of his 2004s, they are vibrant offerings that will thrill readers who love Piedmont wines. As always, Gaja blends in a small percentage of Barbera in his single-vineyard wines, but that is hardly noticeable in this vintage. I also noted less new oak than has generally been the case in the recent past. The wines showcase very pure expressions of Nebbiolo and are made in a style that appears to make fewer concessions to the decidedly international approach of previous vintages. In short, these are the most Piedmontese wines I have tasted from Angelo Gaja in a long time. Could it be that the greatest innovator in Piedmont over the last thirty five-plus years has taken a small step towards a more classic style? Importer: Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, IL; tel. (847) 604-8900

Antonio Galloni - The Wine Advocate, 29 October 2008

Vintage performance