In Piedmont, the name Gaja stands for expensive and world famous wine. Owner Angelo Gaja apparently put the Piedmontese wines on the world map, being the self-proclaimed godfather of Barolo and Barbarescos.
Flemish Karina Imschoot, owner of Made in Italy Travel knows senor Gaja and his winery but fortunately takes us to something much more interesting and lesser known: the wine cellars of oenologist Guido Rivella. The Italian has been since the 1970′s, the No. 1 wine maker of Gaja. While Angelo Gaja was fine tuning his marketing and sales techniques, Guido was engaged with his beloved wine and grapes. Nowadays he still works for Gaia, half-time, while the oenologist experiments also with his four hectares of vinyard to produce a collection of Barolos and Barbarescos himself, laying them to ripe in the old wine cellars and cantina from his grandfather. Guido’s daughter Silvia recently opened a B&B so you can sleep surrounded by vineyards above the old cellars where Rivela’s wine is growing old.
After the tasting Karina whizzes us in a very Italian, Saab-convertible style to the next stop: the 1-star La Ciau del Tornavento with probably one of the most unique wine cellars in the world. Nearly 40,000 bottles are enjoying intense cool temperatures in a huge cellar, some part locked off inside a vault. There are over 600 Barolo wines with even a 5-liter Jeroboam of Gaja Langhe Sperss 2007 with a price tag of around 2500 euros. The philosophy of this restaurant is not to put their profit on the bank but to invest it in wine. The rumors says that the restaurant and impressive wine cellar are for sale. New money from the Middle East or China could well be interested in this drinkable tresoire with views of Piedmonte vineyards.