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BenRiach has three wine finished (and several other, like port and rum finished) expressions in their ‘Wood Finishes’ range. Apart from the Moscatel (which I like) and the Sauterness (which I have not yet tried), they also released this Gaja Barolo this year.
The BenRiach 18 Year Old Gaja Barolo matured on bourbon casks for 15 years and was finished for 3 years in Barolo red wine casks from the Gaja wine making family near Piemonte in Italy. The outturn was only 3.600 bottles.
It is no big surprise that dried fruits like prunes and sultanas, orange marmalde and caramel play first violin here. The nose is enhanced with vanilla and cereals. The nose is, just like the Moscatel’s, appealing.
The attack is spicy… no, make that very peppery, in fact. But soon the nose returns in full force on the palate, accompanied with dark red fruits and a tad of coconut. Even a pinch of brown sugar.
The finish, that is medium long and vibrant, is dominated by the pepper, but a little too oaky for its age, I think. It leaves the mouth as dry as Beggar’s Canyon.
Just like the Moscatel expression, this Gaja Barolo passed the test of the wine finish with flying colours (but I do prefer this one to the Moscatel, personally).