Gaja 2017 Barolo Sperss

In stock

Sperss is one of Gaja's Single vineyard Barolos, grown in the MGA of Marenca-Rivette in Serralunga d'Alba. Sperss is known for its power, but far from being brutal. This is a monumental wine that requires some keeping, but with a 24 hour decant, it is just about approachable.

Grape Varieties

Drink 2027 - 2040+



Size / ABV

Standard Bottle 75cl / 14.5%

This Month's Mixed Cases

The Wine Region



Piedmont is, without fear of contradiction, Italy's most exciting wine region. Home to Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy's finest and most long-lived wines, being the ultimate expression of the world's greatest grape variety: Nebbiolo. OK, I might be going a bit far with that one, but it's my favourite. This variety has, perhaps even more so than Pinot Noir, an in-built ability to transmit its terroir into the glass with laser-like precision and clarity. Perhaps this is why there are 170 named, single-vineyards in Barolo alone (what we now call the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive, or MGAs for short). Barolo is, without doubt, worthy of its title, 'The King of Wines, The Wine of Kings'.

The hills of The Langhe, where Barolo and Barbaresco are found, is also home to other wonderful varieties: Dolcetto is a delight when the winemaker can get the balance of tannins correct, Dogliani being the favoured zone; Barbera is juicy and fruitful with many examples reaching lofty heights of quality; Freisa is light but deliciously complex. There are white varieties too: Arneis is making some kind of come back, since it nearly disappeared entirely: Favorita is the local version of Vermentino; and of course, who could forget Moscato?

Elsewhere, the wines which are receiving the most attention, are those of Alto Piemonte: Gattinara, Ghemme, Sizzano, Fara and many other microscopic DOCs where you can often find pure Nebbiolos, or ocassionally mixed up with Vespolina and Uva Rara. These are not the 'poor man's Barolo', these are distinct wines, worthy of merit. There is also the ubiquitous Gavi di Gavi, one of the few Italian whites with a household name.

The Producer


Gaja was founded in Barbaresco in 1859 by Giovanni Gaja. It wasn't until the fourth generation of the dynasty, Angelo Gaja, who took charge in 1961 that the company modernised - first of all by working with only their vineyards, reducing yields etc., furthered by introducing practices Angelo had seen in his travels in Burgundy, such as ageing the wines in small French oak barrels. Angelo was, and still is to a certain extent, a maverick, although now he is seen much more as an establishment figure. Angelo remains the figurehead of the company. However, it is the fifth generation of Gaia (pictured), Rossj, and Giovanni, now leading the various aspects of the operation.

In the early nineties, the family branched out from their home of Piedmont, initially buying vineyards in Montalcino, what eventually became Pieve Santa Restituta, followed by acquisitions of vineyards in Bolgheri for their Cà Marcanda. Not satisfied with conquering Piedmont and Tuscany, Gaja has entered a joint venture in Sicily with a traditional Etna producer Alberto Graci, creating Idda. The latest news is a project underway in Alta Langa, taking them full circle back to their home of Piedmont.

The Grape Variety



Nebbiolo is a black grape variety primarily grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. It is considered one of Italy's most important and noble grape varieties and used to produce some of the country's finest and most sought-after wines, including Barolo and Barbaresco, and the now fashionable wines of Alto Piemonte.

Nebbiolo grapes produce wines that are typically full-bodied and high in tannins, with high acidity and complex flavours that often include notes of cherry, violet, liquorice, and truffles. The wines are known for their ability to age well, sometimes for decades, and for their intense aromas and flavours.

Nebbiolo is a sensitive grape variety that requires specific growing conditions to thrive. It prefers sloping vineyards on southeast-southwest exposed sites and well-drained soils, such as those found in the Langhe region. The variety is also grown in smaller quantities in other regions of Italy, as well as in some other countries, notably the USA, Australia, and Argentina. However, Nebbiolo wines produced outside of Piedmont are often quite different in style from their Italian counterparts, rarely with the same degree of nobility.

The Sub-Region



Barolo is a the home to some of Italy's greatest wines and spiritual homeland of Nebbiolo. The vineyard is roughly 2,000 hectares of rolling hills in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont, in the hills known as The Langhe.

The DOCG (denominazione di origine controllata garantita) covers 11 communes: 5 major ones of Barolo, La Morra, Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga d'Alba and Castiglione Falletto; then 6 minor ones of Novello, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d'Alba, Roddi and Cherasco, the latter two only having one vineyard each. These communes are then further fractioned down into 171 single vineyard sites, known locally as Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (MGAs), a rather awkward expression for what we used to call the 'Crus'. Having an MGA associated with the name of the wine is a signal that the wine has elevated quality, and most top Barolos, barring a few exceptions, are produced and named this way.

We normally carry a wide range of wine from here, with a focus on a core of producers. Monchiero is one of our favourites, an ultra-traditional producer who uses long macerations and ages the wines only in large Slavonian oak casks. We have their single vineyard Barolos from Montanello, Roere di Santa Maria and occasionally Rocche di Casteglione. The historic producer Luigi Einaudi has fantastic vineyards in a few of Barolo's communes, we tend to favour their Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi from the commune of Barolo, but we are anticipating the release of their debut vintage of Monvigliero from Verduno.

The Vintage

Gaja 2017 Barolos

Gaja 2017 Barolo Single Vineyards

After the abundance of rainfall at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, a suitable amount of water combined with the warm spring, led to an earlier than anticipated bud break, which occurred 15 days earlier than usual. By the half of April 2017, three days of frost hit the Barbaresco area, leading to a strict selection in the vineyards which resulted in the loss of 10% of the overall production. However, the sudden drop in temperatures led to a positive slow-down of the vegetative growth. The remaining spring months showed temperatures and rainfall on average. Whereas, the summer proved to be one of the warmest in the last 10 years. The average temperature in June was 33°-34°C, two degrees higher than the average. The rainfall trend has been low, with Barbaresco experiencing 80 days without any rain shower. In Barolo the last part of the season has been more humid, with 40mL of rain, thus leading to more tonic skins and higher acidity. Overall, 2017 will be remembered for the healthiness of the grapes, due to the dry growing season; likewise, for the overall drop of the production, which the Gaja Estate has estimated around 20%. The harvest began on September 13th with Merlot, then Barbera and ended with Nebbiolo on October 20th.

Copyright © 2022 Noble Grape all rights reserved.