1997 Gaja "Sperss" Nebbiolo Langhe

SKU #994667 99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A virtually perfect effort is the 1997 Sperss (30,000 bottles), which represents the essence of truffles, earth, and black cherries in its striking aromatics and multidimensional, opulent, full-bodied palate. The acidity seems low because of the huge glycerin levels and prodigious concentration of fruit, but I suspect it is normal in the scheme of oenological measurement. This profound wine requires 3-4 years of cellaring, and should age well for 30-35 years. (RP)  (6/2001)

95-97 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated deep ruby. Brooding, rather withdrawn aromas of blackberry, bitter chocolate, espresso and menthol. Dense and huge yet almost magically elegant, thanks to superb vinosity and tannic spine. This monumental wine boasts extraordinary opulence for a Barolo from Serralunga yet gives no impression of excess weight. Great lingering, vibrant finish. (ST)  (12/2000)

97 points Vinous

 Admittedly, Gaja’s 1997 Sperss doesn’t quite hit the high notes it so often does. More often than not, the 1997 has been pretty much open for business, but this bottle is more reticent than other recent examples. (Antonio Galloni -- in an earlier review, dated 2/2012, Galloni describes his best experience of Sperss: 'We caught the 1997s from Piedmont at the very summit of their beauty. Gaja's 1997 Sperss is a wine I have enjoyed often over the years, but this bottle was on another level entirely. The stars aligned as the room tasted this spectacular, utterly breathtaking wine. Words alone can't possibly convey the sheer beauty of the 1997 Sperss. Perfect. That's all I can really say.')  (3/2014)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Dark ruby. Loads of blackberry, vanilla and milk chocolate on the nose. Turns to licorice and flowers. Full-bodied, with a subtle tannin structure and fresh and focused fruit. Balanced and pretty wine. Just starting to open. (Web Only—2007)

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Price: $449.99
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Varietal:

Nebbiolo

- Tar and roses are the two descriptors most associated with this red grape grown, almost solely, in Italy's Piedmont, where it has achieved fame under the guises of the incredibly and age-worthy wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Characterized by chewy tannins, high acidity, high-tone cherry and raspberry fruit and truffle aromas and flavors, Nebbiolo has rightfully earned its reputation. Sadly the late-ripening varietal is quite delicate and is prone to disease as well as damage by hail that frequently pelts the region. Outside of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is grown in the DOCs of Gattinara, Spanna and Ghemme. The Nebbiolos of the Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC in the southeastern part of Piedmont are generally lighter and more immediately approachable versions of the grape, aged for less time than Barolo and Barbaresco, which also makes them less expensive. Langhe Nebbiolos are generally made from declassified fruit from the aforementioned regions of Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d'Alba.
Country:

Italy

- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world. For our entire Italian wine selection, click here. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of Italy.
Sub-Region:

Piedmont

- Piedmont is in the Northwestern region of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmont is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps to form the headwaters of the Po river. The major wine producing areas are in the southern portion of the region in the hills known as the "Langhe". Here the people speak a dialect that is 1/3 French and 2/3 Italian that portrays their historical roots. Their cuisine is one of the most creative and interesting in Italy. Nebbiolo is the King grape here, producing Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, the Barbera and Dolcetto are the workhorse grapes that produce the largest quantity of wine. Piedmont is predominantly a red wine producing area. There are a few whites made in Piedmont, and the Moscato grape produces a large volume of sweet, semi-sweet and sparkling wines as well.