The 1988 Barbaresco offers the classic nose of dried cherries, herbs, cedar, and toasty oak. In the mouth, it is medium to full-bodied, with considerable tannic clout. The long finish is dominated by the wine's tannins. It should benefit from 3-4 years of cellaring and keep for 10-15. All of Gaja's 1988 Barbarescos are backward, reserved wines. Even after sitting four days with the corks pulled they exhibited no signs of oxidation. While they should be uncommonly long-lived, I did not see quite the flesh and richness possessed by such vintages as 1985 and 1982.
Aromatic and elegant, a lean wine with exotic vanilla and violet aromas and flavors more than the modest blackberry and cherry flavors struggling to sneak in on the finish. Ends up tart, tannic and tarry on the finish.