Gaja Sperss Barolo  Nebbiolo Langhe Italy Piedmont 2016

Gaja Sperss Barolo Nebbiolo Langhe Italy Piedmont 2016


100 RP

2025 - 2060

 

The golden touch, that proverbial Gaja magic, is taken to a whole new level in the 2016 Barolo Sperss. Angelo Gaja has taught his children to follow their own path, and now that the generational switch is well underway at the family estate, we can see that Gaia, Rossana and Giovanni have done him proud. Very proud. This stunning expression from the 2016 vintage (with 16,000 bottles released) represents quite a few celebratory milestones. We are now in the fifth generation to protect the Gaja legacy in an unbroken family chain that has endured since 1859. This wine is 100% Nebbiolo, and since the 2013 vintage, it is part of the Barolo DOCG appellation. Winemaking has been tweaked to embrace a more elegant, ethereal and streamlined personality, instead of the bigger extraction we saw in the past. This upgraded identity is distinctly evident in this newest release of Sperss. Starting with appearance, the wine is luminous and bright with shiny ruby and garnet gemstone. Its aromatic reach is three-dimensional with width, height and depth. Delicate berry tones cede to pressed lilac, anise, sandalwood and cardamom spice. I double decanted and left the bottle open for a few hours before my tasting. The results are tight and gentle, and the wine shows beautiful vertical lift and intensity. To achieve this much power without the excess fruit weight is really quite an accomplishment. This is the magic of Nebbiolo, and the magic of Gaja.

I have almost always tasted new releases of Gaja in person at the winery in the company of Gaia Gaja or someone else from her family. Obviously, these on-site visits offer a better opportunity to report findings, ask questions, make vineyard visits and collect all kinds of interesting news, facts and quotes. Because of COVID-19, I tasted these samples at home under ideal circumstances that allowed for consistency of serving temperatures, stemware and decanting. I was also able to spend more time with each bottle in front of my laptop to muse and reflect, and I returned to many of these wines over multiple days to chart their evolution. Tasting at home allowed me more time to revisit my notes and tweak my comments. This relaxed approach made this year's tasting of Barolo and Barbaresco one of the most enjoyable of my career, and one of the most beautiful wines discovered in this tasting of 900-plus samples is Gaja's 2016 Barolo Sperss.