Gaja Costa Russi 1998

A winemaking friend of mine celebrated his birthday on Sunday, and a few assorted trade folks brought some odd bottles. Some were curiosities, some were donations from absent friends, unable to attend. As wine pot-lucks go, the quality was fantastic. We hid happily under the gazebos, sheltered from the rain, swigging cracking plonk whilst eating as much from the grill as possible.

One wine stood out among some rather daunting competition. This was opened later in the day, after the crowd had thinned.

The beginning of rust on the rim, with a warm dark blood ruby.

Cured meat, truffle, fig and mushroom with forest detritus and a hint of cherries. Heady, rich and promising.

Rich, cured red fruit, knotted and layered with incredible power and delicacy. You tug on it in the mouth, grabbing at each phase of the palate. Tar and evergreen forest wrapped in juicy black cherries and cranberries. Dry and longingly rasping, like a kiss at the end of a long night. Incredible.


Tasted on the Trelawney Estate, Hackney, 8 July 2012