Sperss is Angelo Gaja’s crafting of a Barolo style of wine from his Serralunga d’Alba vineyard, though technically it’s classed as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. No matter, this is a powerful wine in the Barolo Style. The word “Sperss” is Piemontese for “nostalgia,” an apt term for Angelo’s longing to return to Barolo production in 1988 using grapes grown on his Estate after years of absence.
The 1999 vintage of Sperss is powerful, dense and massive. The nose hits you with chocolate, licorice, tar and a pleasant light smokiness, followed by black cherry and plum, tobacco, dark-earth and sweet tannins on the palate. This is a big wine. After some 14 years, it has mellowed a bit however it will age well for 30-40 years after vintage.
Expected maturity: Now through 2035.
Food pairing: A powerful Barolo like Sperss pairs very well with braised and grilled beef — think well marbled rib-eye and New York steaks grilled over hot coals. Sperss is wonderful with stews made from game meats like venison and wild boar, and pair nicely with earthy fruits like mushrooms and white truffles. Barolo wines like Sperss also go very well with sharp and stinky cheeses, like robiola, gorgonzola and other blue-veined cheeses.
Visiting Gaja: It’s tough to get some time at the Gaja cantina in the center of Barbaresco, but you can give it a try by calling them at +39.0173.635.158. If you can’t get in, don’t fret — have lunch or dinner next door at Ristorante Antine and enjoy a bottle of Gaja Sperss from their wine list. Salute!
Cantina Address: Via Torino 36, Barbaresco (CN) Italy . Google Map
Learn More: Gaja is BIG these days, and there’s no useful website managed by the producer themselves. The best source I’ve found on Angelo Gaja is this October 2011 article in Wine Spectator by Mitch Frank on the life of Angelo Gaja — well worth a read if you’re a Gaja wine fan.