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Gaja Sperss 2013

Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy
  • JD97
  • RP96
  • JS96
  • WE96
  • WS96
14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Ruby red color. Aromas are dark, pure and very focused with classic hints of tar, licorice, and a touch of truffles. On the palate, Sperss displays the austere character typical of Serralunga terroir: deep structure and lots of ripe tannins. Dense, massive yet seamless, the beautifully integrated wine possesses low acidity as well as a terrific finish.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JD 97
Jeb Dunnuck
The gem of the 2013s is the 2013 Barolo Sperss which comes from limestone-dominated soils. The 2013 is deep, concentrated, and structured, with a fabulous sense of minerality in its black cherry, leafy herbs, damp earth, and licorice aromas and flavors. From a late, cool vintage, it has awesome purity of fruit, plenty of tannins, and a huge finish. It’s a brilliant wine any way you look at it. I’d happily drink this elixir today, but it deserves at least 3-4 years and will keep for 25+.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This wine shows the quintessential attributes of the Serralunga d'Alba appellation with dark fruit flavors and powerful intensity. The 2013 Barolo Sperss paints a very authentic picture of its unique territory with rich layers of black fruit, wet earth, black truffle, licorice and spice. The wine's tannic structure is firm and lasting. It shows broad shoulders and rich texture overall. This beautiful Barolo boasts a dark color and thick concentration with the aromatic elegance obtained in the 2013 vintage. This important wine is now part of the Barolo DOCG family.
JS 96
James Suckling
Amazing aromas of cherries, oranges and light prunes with hints of wet earth and mushrooms. Very perfumed. It's medium-bodied, firm and direct. Great vino. Needs at least five years to come together but already a joy to taste.
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
Underbrush, toast, menthol, grilled herb and star anise aromas lead the way. Firmly structured but loaded with finesse, the taut palate delivers Morello cherry, raspberry, licorice and a toasted note while assertive, close-grained tannins provide the framework. It’s still young and austere so give it time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2033. Cellar Selection
WS 96
Wine Spectator
Textbook rose, tar and cherry aromas and flavors, with accents of oak spice, licorice and tobacco, are the hallmarks of this complex red. Powerful, yet harmonious, showing fine structure and a lingering finish. Best from 2022 through 2040.
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Gaja
Gaja, Piedmont, Italy
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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.

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Piedmont

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Set upon a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, the enchanting and rolling hills of Piedmont are the source of some of the country’s longest-lived and most sought-after wines. Vineyards cover a great majority of the land area—especially in Barolo—with the most prized sites at the top hilltops or on south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. Piedmont has a continental climate with hot, humid summers leading to cold winters and precipitation year-round. The reliable autumnal fog provides a cooling effect, especially beneficial for Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most prestigious variety.

In fact, Nebbiolo is named exactly for the arrival of this pre-harvest fog (called “nebbia” in Italian), which prolongs cluster hang time and allows full phenolic balance and ripeness. Harvest of Nebbiolo is last among Piedmont's varieties, occurring sometime in October. This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure; the best examples can require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. Across the Tanaro River, the Roero region, and farther north, the regions of Gattinara and Ghemme, also produce excellent quality Nebbiolo.

Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin and juicy red fruit. Dolcetto, Piedmont’s other important red grape, is usually ready within a couple of years of release.

White wines, while less ubiquitous here, should not be missed. Key varieties include Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso, Erbaluce and the sweet, charming Muscat, responsible for the brilliantly recognizable, Moscato d'Asti.

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Nebbiolo

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Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piemontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. This finicky grape and needs a very particular soil type and climate in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Tiny amounts are produced in Washington, Virginia, Mexico and Australia.

In the Glass

Nebbiolo at its best is an elegant variety with velveteen tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a captivating perfume. Common characteristcs of a well-made Nebbiolo can include roses, violets, licorice, sandalwood, spicebox, smoke, potpourri, black plum, red cherry and orange peel. Light brick in color, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow.

Perfect Pairings

Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best cuisine. The region is famous for its white truffles, wild boar ragu and tajarin pasta, all perfect companions to Nebbiolo.

Sommelier Secret

If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.

RPT45380412_2013 Item# 360972