Piemontese dialect for “nostalgia,” “Sperss” is now 100% Nebbiolo, and is thus entitled to the Barolo appellation. It comes from parcels in Marenca-Rivette vineyards in Serralunga d'Alba that Angelo acquired in 1988. Galloni calls this one “Beautifully persistent and deep, the 2015 is a gorgeous wine that also perfectly encapsulates the current Gaja style that is all about understatement and finesse.” The critical consensus says it all here!
Angelo Gaja, born in 1940, remains the alpha male of Italian winemaking, one of a long line of natural-born leaders and entrepreneurs. His father, Giovanni, was the political secretary for Barbaresco under Mussolini, and was so popular with the local citizenry that the Italian resistance never harmed him during WWII. Giovanni went on to become Mayor of Barbaresco from 1958 to 1983. For most of the postwar period, Giovanni worked as a construction manager all over Piedmont, and invested all of his earnings in land, while his mother, Clotilde Rey, AKA Tildin, ran the winery. By the time young Angelo entered the family business in 1961, the family owned 82 acres of prime vineyard land in Barbaresco and their brand was already well-known throughout Italy. In the following years, Angelo went on to build an Italian institution, adding estate vineyards in the Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and Bolgheri appellations. Today Gaja [GUY-yuh] is arguably the most prestigious wine brand in Italy.
In the 2015 Barolo Sperss, you can taste the iron rust and minerality that is so specific to the soils of Serralunga d'Alba where this wine is born. It is very bold and represents the more powerful of these two wines from Barolo. Cerequio is always the more floral, while the Sperss has an immediate cherry and some lingering, bold, blackberry aromas that make a strong impact. However, this wine does not have the austerity of a classic Barolo. Instead it shows a richer texture and it casts a wider net of flavors. Serralunga d'Alba fruit is marked by stronger concentration and ripeness, with a very firm and unyielding quality of tannin that should hold the wine steady as it moves through its aging evolution. This is a truly beautiful albeit brawny Nebbiolo.
The 2015 Barolo Sperss shows all of the darkness and muscle that are so typical of Serralunga. Black cherry, plum, licorice, incense, gravel, cured meats and scorched earth infuse this potent, backward wine with tremendous character. My impression is that the extraction and oak are all a bit more pushed here relative to the other wines in the range.
The 2015 Barolo Sperss is another smoking good 2015 that shows the sunny warmth of the vintage in its massive bouquet of blackcurrants, kirsch liqueur, red plums, Asian spices, violets, and flowery incense. It reminds me of the incredible 1997, and Barolo doesn't get any more sexy or opulent. This brilliant, full-bodied wine has ripe, velvety tannins, beautiful depth of fruit, and a great finish. It needs a solid hour in a decanter if drinking any time soon and will benefit from 5-7 years of bottle age. It should drink brilliantly over the following 25-30 years.
Very ripe strawberry and cherry aromas with undertones of flowers and cedar. Hints of fresh leather, too. Full body and round, soft tannins with lots of intensity at the finish. Round and fruity, yet always reserved. Needs time to come completely together.