The 2004 Costa Russi is irresistibly sexy and opulent. As is typically the case, the wine is more overtly fruit-driven, with a round, supple personality. Sweet, long and richly-textured, it is just plain awesome in its display of generous, vibrant fruit, tar, smoke, minerals and herbs. It is the finest Costa Russi yet. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2024. Angelo Gaja and long-time oenologist Guido Rivella produced some of the most monumental wines of their long, storied partnership in 2004. Although I admire Gaja’s wines, especially for their consistency, I rarely find them this emotionally moving and utterly profound. The stable weather and cool, tempering evenings towards the end of the growing season allowed Gaja and Rivella to harvest fairly late in 2004. I remember passing by Gaja’s Barbaresco vineyards in October of that year and seeing fruit still waiting to be picked long after most producers had already brought the fruit in. Gaja’s 2004s from Barbaresco are especially breathtaking for their clarity and precision. The wines also seem less internationally-styled than in the past. Readers fortunate enough to possess the means to acquire these wines won’t want to miss them! The 2003s from the Barolo zones of La Morra and Serralunga are also strong efforts considering the vintage. “Historically in Piedmont there has been an inverse relationship between quality and quantity. Great vintages like 1961 and 1989 were characterized by low yields,” says Gaja. “2004 is one of those rare vintages like 1964 and 1990 where quality is high even though yields were generous as well. I think 2004 is a very elegant vintage. It is much easier to achieve opulence in the wines, but finesse is always much more elusive.”
Complex, fresh aromas of concentrated blackberry, grilled meat and chocolate. Full-bodied and chewy, with caressing tannins and a long, long finish. A brick house and beautifully decorated. Powerful. Best after 2012. 1,000 cases made.