1989 Gaja "Sperss" Barolo

SKU #980271 97 points Vinous

 The 1989 Barolo Sperss is wonderfully complete and polished, as layers of seamless, ripe fruit emerge from its powerful frame with tons of class. The wine reveals stunning elegance and purity wrapped around a powerful core of Serralunga fruit that speaks volumes of the greatness of this terroir. The 1989 Sperss can be enjoyed today as the tannins are incredibly finessed, but it also looks to have many years of profound drinking ahead of it. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025. (AG)  (2/2010)

96 points Wine Spectator

 Complex and fascinating, offering all sorts of floral, earthy overtones to the solid core of black cherry, blackberry and anise flavors. An intense wine that shows many facets, including a welcome whiff of vanilla and toast on the aftertaste. *#2 on the Top 100 Wines of 1993*  (10/1993)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1989 Barolo Sperss gives the impression of being more evolved, softer, and fatter than the single vineyard Barbarescos. Although there appears to be more depth of fruit, and the nose is more expressive, sweeter, and flamboyant, a thorough examination of the wine reveals considerable tannin. Nevertheless, the rich, ripe, broad, expansive fruit, full-bodied, chewy texture, and soft acids make for a decadently rich, complex, compelling bottle of Barolo... Admirers of great wine will no doubt be debating the merits of Gaja's 1989s and 1990s for the next two or three decades. (RP)  (4/1994)

Jancis Robinson

 Sperss is a local word for nostalgia, we were told by Angelo. ‘My grandfather did sometimes buy Barolo grapes, including grapes from this vineyard, because they were so much easier to sell than Barbaresco.’ This Serralunga vineyard bought in 1988 was the Gajas' first foray into vine ownership in neighbouring Barolo and this was the historic first vintage. Much richer, riper and dustier than the Conteisa 1996 – even more concentrated. Fine tannins and wonderfully powerfully earthy. Great to drink now. Heady – a bouquet to lose yourself in. 18/20 points (JR)  (4/2009)

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Price: $359.99
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- 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.


- 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.


- 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.
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- Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, these wines take their name from the village of Barolo. A maximum of 205,000 cases per year can be made from 3081 acres of land divided between 11 communes and more than 1200 growers. La Morra, Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Monforte and Serralunga are the most important communes and produce most of the exported wine. Barolo is a powerhouse wine in some communes but also more delicate in others (La Morra is the most delicate and Serralunga the most powerful). Recent technological and viticultural advances are remaking Barolo into a wine that is more consistent balanced. Producers here do not want to change the flavor or feel of their wines, only improve and eliminate poor winemaking technique. A wine of great perfume, body and size the classic nose of "tar and roses". Barolo is best served with roast meats the Piemontese classic would be "Stracotto del Barolo or pot roast cooked with a Barolo, game birds or powerful cheese.