One of the things I have learned over the years is that you can count on Angelo Gaja to make a strong showing in just about any tasting. Yes, I know, Sperss is not Barolo (a small percentage of Barbera is added), but at its core the wine captures the essence of Serralunga and is as representative of these hillside vineyards as any Barolo. Dark tar, smoke, leather, spices, menthol and black cherries all make an appearance in this muscular, full-throttle wine. While the vast majority of 1998 Barolos can be enjoyed today, the 1998 Sperss could use another few years in the cellar. It isn’t a crime to open a bottle today, but this is one of the few 1998s that still has upside potential. Simply put, the 1998 Sperss is a jewel. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2023. Incidentally, I tasted through the entire 1998 Gaja lineup last year for the 7th Edition of Parker’s Wine Buyers’ Guide and found all the wines outstanding. Highlights included Sori San Lorenzo and Sori Tildin, which along with Sperss, are terrific wines. Antonio Galloni, In the Cellar # 0309.
The Wine AdvocateScore: 95/100
The 1998 Sperss reveals a perfume of black fruits, truffles, earth, and spice box. Dense, massive yet seamless, this beautifully integrated wine possesses low acidity as well as a terrific finish. Although evolved and delicious for such a youthful Barolo, it will age well for 20-25 years. Oct 2001, www.robertparker.com
Robert ParkerScore: 94/100