98 RP - 2004 Angeleo Gaja Langhe Sori San Lorenzo - 98 pts The 2004 Sori San Lorenzo is a drop-dead gorgeous wine. It presents awesome balance, especially in the way it marries power with elegance. This is a remarkably refined and understated Sori San Lorenzo, with never-ending layers of dark raspberries, licorice, grilled herbs and tar that flow from its sumptuous frame. A dark, brooding beauty, it will require several additional years of bottle at a minimum, but those with the patience to wait will be amply rewarded. In most vintages I prefer the Sori Tildin, but in 2004 Sori San Lorenzo has a very slight edge over its sibling. It may very well be the finest Sori San Lorenzo since the legendary 1971.
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,â€ 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.