The Gaja estate's qualitative supremacy and cachet are not solely attributable to Angelo. In fact, his father's 1961 Barbaresco may be the most profound bottling of its designation ever to be produced. The Gaja name represents a legacy of quality that has evolved since the family immigrated from Spain over 300 years ago.
Angelo maintained his family's high standards of production while inaugurating a new stylistic direction--more often than not through measures that incited controversy. Foremost among these was his inaugural use of barrique in the vinification of his 1975 Barbaresco cuvée. Gaja is widely credited with having instituted this practice, the objective of which is to soften the formidable tannins of the Nebbiolo grape, thereby producing a wine that is richer and more concentrated in its fruit expression than traditional models. Other early efforts included the reduction of crop size, shortened pruning of Nebbiolo vines, and decreased fermentation periods.