Allegrini 2024

“Angelo Gaja, Champion of Italian wine”, on the cover of “Wine Spectator” for the third time

The iconic Barbaresco wine producer interviewed by Marvin Shanken in the April 2024 issue, 50 years after his first trip to the United States

“Charismatic”, and most of all, “ obsessed with convincing Americans that Barbaresco wines deserved a place at the table of the world’s prime wine classics. He can rest assured today, knowing that he has achieved his goal”. These are the words Marvin Shanken, editor of “Wine Spectator”, wrote introducing the interview with “Angelo Gaja, Champion of Italian wine”, the cover story of the American magazine’s April 2024 issue (almost 4 million readers worldwide). The magazine has quite often talked about Italy in the issues released around the world during the Vinitaly and OperaWine periods. Plus, this is the third time one of the most famous wine producers in Italy and the world, is on the cover. The first time Gaja was on the cover was in 1985. He was the first Italian wine producer ever to be on the cover of the magazine, in a period in which Italy’s wine production was not yet a great exporting power like today. The second time was in 2011. Now, Angelo Gaja holds the absolute record. Up until this edition, he had two covers, like another great master of Italian wine, Piero Antinori (in 1994, and with his daughters Albiera, Allegra and Alessia, in 2015). Over the years other great wine producers have been on the cover, such as Oscar Farinetti (in 2013), and again Lodovico Antinori (in 2016), Marilisa Allegrini (in 2017) and Nicolò and Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta (Sassicaia, Tenuta San Guido) in 2018.
Shanken’s interview with Gaja reflected on the past 50 years of wine history, on the main players’ experiences, and on the future. And, it also celebrates an anniversary, as we read on the “Wine Spectator” website, “when Angelo Gaja made his first trip to the United States, in 1974, the market for Italian fine wines was small. He traveled tirelessly, promoting his belief that the Barbaresco and Piedmont wines in general and all over Italy, could be world-class”.
“My favorite anecdote about Angelo Gaja dates back to 1991”, Marvin Shanken said, explaining that Angelo Gaja had always responded “impossible” to his request of giving a presentation at the famous “New York Wine Experience”. However, Shanken eventually convinced Gaja, who conducted a seminar in front of 1.000 people. “At the end of the seminar, there was a break, which is usually when everyone runs for the doors to do other things on really busy days. This time, however, at the end of the seminar, hundreds of participants lined up to greet Angelo Gaja and shake his hand. It was as if they were meeting the Pope. In 42 years of “Wine Experience”, I have never seen an audience so fond of a person. Charisma”. In the interview (available online on “Wine Spectator” starting March 12, 2024, ed.), Marvin Shanken and Angelo Gaja also talk about the future, represented by Angelo Gaja and his wife Lucia’s three children, Gaia, Rossana and Giovanni.
Moreover, in the April 2024 issue of the “Wine Spectator” magazine, Marvin Shanken explained in his editorial, there is also an extensive tasting article on the wines of Piedmont, signed by Bruce Sanderson, who gave the 2019 vintage an overall evaluation of 97 points out of 100. “Gaja is well established among the top wines, with Barbaresco and Barolo”, Shanken continued. It is, therefore, yet another acknowledgment, in a period in which Angelo Gaja is preparing (slowly) to leave the scene, or at least to take a step back, in favor of (and together with) his children at the helm of the Barbaresco winery (as well as Montalcino and Bolgheri).

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