The 2000 Barbaresco is beginning to show early tertiary qualities. Smoke, tobacco, cedar and dried cherries are some of the notes that emerge from the glass. Over time the Barbaresco gains a measure of freshness, with pretty floral aromas that weave into the finish. The tannins remain quite firm, and are likely to outlast the fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2020. Angelo Gaja’s 2000s are a bit of a mystery. The wines were absolutely beautiful upon release and equally impressive when I tasted them a few years later for the 7th edition of Parker’s Wine Buyers Guide. The 2000s were far less convincing when I tasted them in November 2010. All of the wines were initially very reticent and closed. After an hour or two in the glass they opened for about 30 minutes before closing back down again. Gaja thinks the wines are passing through a stage of inaccessibility. If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt it is Gaja. I can’t remember the last older wine from this cellar that was a disappointment or that hadn’t aged well, and I have been privileged to taste the vast majority of wines that have been made here under Angelo Gaja’s tenure. Time will ultimately tell where these wines are headed, but this was not an especially flattering showing for Gaja’s 2000s. That said, most producers would be thrilled to have wines like these in their cellars. In some ways, Gaja is a victim of his own success. He sets such a high bar with his finest vintages; it is only natural to expect greatness all the time. The 2000s fall a bit short of that mark but are quite strong in the context of the year.