Italia - Piemonte - Neive
Gea holds a doctorate degree and is said to have earned a nice living while working as a geologist for large corporations in his years after university. I imagine some of that income came in handy when, a decade and a half ago, Gea renounced corporate life and retired to Barbaresco to rehabilitate his deceased grandfather’s long-fallow farmland and to revive the Gea family’s former winemaking glory. Still, while Gea has enjoyed a meteoric rise to contemporary wine celebrity, he is still working at an absurdly small scale. He farms a few small plots mostly located near, or around, Barbaresco’s “Bricco di Neive” vineyard, and only bottles around 400 cases of wine each vintage. Depending on each vintage’s yields, the total is typically divided between 7-8 individual cuvées. In my experience, the name, label, cépage, production volume, and style of each wine are subject to change each year. In general, Gea’s reds are not an exercise in classicism; they are abstract, progressive wines that will infatuate those who enjoy a taste of life’s wild side. The one exception is his Barbaresco, which is about as classic, pitch-perfect and objectively delicious as they come.
First, a white-knuckled tightrope balancing act between alpine strawberry and atomized limestone. Then, as more oxygen enters the equation, lush waves of dark cherry, tobacco, and fine leather begin to crash. Finally, many hours in, this bottle hits a sweet spot wherein ethereal truffle and poached fig notes echo into a seemingly endless finish.