Gaja Ca Marcanda 2017 Magari

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Magari is the middle of the three reds that Gaja produces at Cà Marcanda and made from Cabernets Franc & Sauvignon with a splash of Petit Verdot. The clay and gravel of Bolgheri is the perfect home for these varieties, coupled with the warmth of the nearby Mediterranean for the ripeness and the coolness of the mountains in the evening for the development of the aromatics. 2017 was a warm vintage in this, and most other parts of Italy and Gaja describes the vines as looking like bonsai trees: small bunches, small berries and little foliage. In 2017 the problem was not ripeness is was obtaining balance and Gaja has achieved that with quite impressive mastery.

The wine is deep and dense with beautifully polished tannins, silkiness and concentration, but with the telltale flamboyance of perfume that reminds you that you are in Tuscany. At a push you could just about enjoy this right now, but best with some years in the cellar where it will unfold further and tame the not-insignificant tannins.

Italy | Tuscany | Bolgheri | Gaja Ca Marcanda | 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot | Drink 2023 - 2032

The Wine Region


Tuscany is the region of Italy that most fine wine drinkers gravitate towards.

It occupies much of Central Italy with a Tyrrhenian coast to the west and the Apennines to the east, it has both Mediterranean and continental climates.

The story of Tuscany begins with its major black variety, Sangiovese, one of the most planted varieties in Italy, but here is its ancestral and spiritual home. Sangiovese makes up the majority of the blend of Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and various other DOC/Gs and 100% of Brunello & Rosso di Montalcino.

Chianti Classico is the region between Florence and Siena and has been systematically polluted with foreign varieties such as Cabernet, Syrah and, God forbid, Merlot.

Now, we are seeing a return to more traditional blends as producers are gradually moving away from the Super Tuscan movement of the 1980s & 1990s.

In Montalcino, where only Sangiovese is permitted, producers have also shunned the illicit use of foreign varieties and the wines have never been better because of it. Helped out by a good run of vintages, as well.

Elsewhere, there are still gems to be discovered. San Gimignano is home to the only major DOCG for white wines, yet its planting of its traditional variety, Vernaccia di San Gimignano are on the wane, but not at Castello di Montaùto who still champion this variety.

The Tuscan Coast is still the hotbed for innovation, unlike other bits of Tuscany it is the international varieties that thrive and make the best wines, with the occasional exception

The Producer

Gaja Ca Marcanda

Gaja Cà Marcanda

The legendary Barbaresco producer Gaja extended their empire from their home turf to Montalcino with Pieve Santa Restituta in the early nineties, then into Bolgheri creating Ca Marcanda from scratch in 1996. Since then they now have estates in Etna - Idda - and right now is engaging in a project in Alta Langa for making sparkling wines.

The story of Bolgheri begin in 1968 when Sassicaia was first created by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta (also originally from Piedmont) who saw the potential in French varieties for producing world class wines: Sangiovese has never really been as successful here as it has in Montalcino or Chianti Classico. When Gaja arrived there were 10 producers in Bolgheri, now there are 56, such is the interest in this region. Being one of the early ones, Gaja had the chance to snaffle the best vineyard sites.

The estate produces 4 wines: Vistamare, their white from Vermentino, Viognier and Fiano; Promis from Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah; Magari from the two Cabernets and Petit Verdot; and finally the flagship Camarcanda from Cabernet Sauvignon and a dash of Franc.

Although inspired by the greats of Bordeaux, the wines here have their own distinct Italianality

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