There is no doubt that Gaja today is one of the most famous brands of Italian wine in the world. It is enough to recall, by way of explanation, that already in 1985 its Barbaresco docg was called “the finest wine ever made in Italy”, and that in 1998 the owner, Angelo Gaja, was awarded by the international wine press as “man of the year”.
It must be said that the premises for success were all there, since the winery Gaja, founded in 1859 by his great-great-grandfather Giovanni, had begun to focus on the quality of his wines since the beginning of 1900, with the production choices of his great-grandfather Angelo, driven in this direction by his wife Clotilde Rey. To Angelo succeeded his son Giovanni, the first to be stained with what in his time was a real blasphemy: pruning the vines discarding the less good clusters, rejecting “the grace of God”!
With such clear examples behind, the work of Angelo, who entered the company in 1961, could only be what we know today: creation of exclusive wines by Cru entered the history of wine, use of the most modern production techniques, inspired by Burgundy and Bordeaux viticulture, such as the use of barriques (a real revolution for those times) and expansion of production (currently around 350,000 bottles, from 92 hectares of property) with the introduction of vines from those lands, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon.
Despite this expansion of the cultivated varietals, however, Angelo has founded his fame on wines obtained from Nebbiolo, such as Barbaresco with its 3 legendary reserves, and this Barolo, the Sperss. It is a wine that was born in the Marenca-Rivette vineyard, in Serralunga d’Alba, where his father Giovanni went as a young man to provide labor to the owners, during the phases of the harvest. It seems that Giovanni literally fell in love with this vineyard and that he felt, throughout his life, an intense longing born from the desire, unrealized, to possess it. That vineyard was then bought, in 1988, by Angelo who decided to allocate it to the production of Sperss, a Barolo whose name, in Piedmontese dialect, means precisely “longing”, dedicating this wine to his father. The grapes destined for its production, after a careful selection both in the vineyard and in the cellar, undergo fermentation and maceration, for 3 weeks, in steel tanks, before aging 12 months in barriques and 12 months in large oak barrels. A little final rest in the bottle, in order to regain the necessary balance, and the wine is ready for marketing.
The 2013 vintage, characterized by an average cool climate and a late harvest of about 2 weeks compared to usual, to allow the complete development of the vegetative cycle of the grapes, has a color halfway between ruby and garnet, with a range of aromas starting from blackberry, vinyl, dried violet and Sichuan pepper, with an outline of undergrowth, pomegranate, blood orange and leather, and concluding echoes of incense, Cavendish tobacco and boisée. The taste is decidedly very structured, with the attack focused on the elegant balance between hints of roundness and balsamic freshness, followed by the savory note (never excessive) and the citrus and thirst-quenching one, which fit in the medium-palate, all marked by a great concentration of tannins, already very elegant and juicy. By retro-olfactory way the citrus, red fruit and spice return, and accompany the sip until the almost endless final persistence.
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