Gaja Sperss 2008
Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy
Ruby red in color. The nose shows a dark, pure and very focused fruit with classic hints of tar, licorice and a touch of truffles. Sperss displays the austere character typical of Serralunga terroir: deep structure and lots of ripe tannins. Dense, massive yet seamless, this beautifully integrated wine possesses low acidity as well as a terrific finish.
International Wine Cellar - "Good full, deep red. Compelling perfume of musky strawberry, wild game, smoky minerality and underbrush. Broad and sweet, but with outstanding definition and a magically light touch to its fruit, mineral and spice flavors. Wonderfully brisk, complete wine with an explosive back end featuring great tannic structure and outstanding aromatic lift. I wouldn't call this powerful wine fat or silky, but it's utterly seamless and incredibly suave. Should be a cellar classic.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Sperss is exotic, dark and totally seductive. Black cherries, mint, licorice, flowers, spices and juniper berries meld together in the glass, all supported by firm, insistent tannins. Today the Sperss has begun to shut down in bottle. It isn't anywhere near as expressive as the Conteisa, but that will come in time. There is so much to look forward to, but readers will have to be patient. In time, the 2008 Sperss will be yet another viscerally thrilling wine. Sperss is made from the Marenca and Rivette vineyards in Serralunga. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2048.
Wine Enthusiast - "Gaja's Sperss was once a Barolo but now occupies a category all its own as a Nebbiolo from the Langhe region—the producer famously declassified his top wines. This shows extreme elegance and sophistication with fine nuances of forest fruit, spice, dried tobacco, licorice and Spanish cedar. The finish is long, polished and bright. Drink after 2020.
Wine Spectator - "There's a lot of toasty oak framing the black cherry, tobacco and spice flavors in this suave, powerful red. Balanced overall, with plenty of fruit, but needs time to integrate more fully. Displays a fine mix of fruit and spice on the aftertaste. Best from 2016 through 2035."
James Suckling - "This has a crazy intensity with a big hit of new wood but loads of ripe yet subtle fruit, from plums to dark berries. Full and chewy with round tannins and a long, persistent finish. Turns to licorice and spice in the aftertaste. Better in 2016. "
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The story of the Gaja Winery can be traced to a singular, founding purpose: to produce original wines with a sense of place which reflect the tradition and culture of those who made it. This philosophy has inspired five generations of impeccable winemaking. It started over 150 years ago when Giovanni Gaja opened a small restaurant in Barbaresco, making wine to complement the food he served. In 1859, he founded the Gaja Winery, producing some of the first wine from Piedmont to be bottled and sold outside the region. Ever since, the winery has been shaped by each generation’s hand, notably that of Angelo Gaja. Under Angelo's direction, the the native Nebbiolo grape was elevated to world-class esteem.
Today, Angelo Gaja, alongside Guido Rivella, his winemaker since 1970, and his daughter, Gaia, advance their legacy. To fully realize their vision, all Gaja wines are produced exclusively from grapes grown in estate-owned vineyards, including 250 acres in Piedmont's Barbaresco and Barolo districts as well as estates in Pieve Santa Restituta (Montalcino) and Ca’Marcanda (Bolgheri). It is from these storied vineyards, and the earth, weather and vines upon them, that Gaja wines reveal their true heart. View all Gaja Wines
About PiedmontView a map of Piedmont wineries (PEED-mont)
Notable FactsNot just regulated to red wine, Piedmont also produces some notable whites, particularly those near the district of Gavi and Asti. Gavi produces still white wine from the Cortese grape. The wine is dry with a crisp, citrus-like acidity – fairly neutral but pleasant. Arneis is another grape/wine made in the area, creating a fuller wine that displays some nuttiness in the aroma and taste. Asti is well known for its sparkling wine – in particular Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante is typically higher in alcohol, sweetness & fizziness, while its higher-class cousin, Mostcato d'Asti, contains lower alcohol levels, a few less bubbles, and a more restrained and delicate representation of Moscato fruit.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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