1999 Langhe Sperss—Dark ruby. The 1999 Sperrs displays much Serralunga character in its licorice, asphalt, herb, and sweet dark fruit flavors, with notable persistence on the palate and a potent personality. A rising of menthol beautifully frames the big, tannic finish. A wine that kept developing in the glass, this Sperss offers outstanding potential for those who are patient enough to wait at least a few years. It should drink well until at least age 25. 95/drink after 2011, 03/06 As always, the house style is very much present in the wines. Beginning in 1996 the Langhe wines contain a small amount of Barbera (between 5-8%) which Gaja says is added to give the wines additional acidity. Vinification remains fairly traditional by today’s standards. Fermentation and maceration last about three weeks. For the Barbaresco the fermentation takes place at a temperature of roughly 82?F (28?C). Gaja uses a slightly different approach for his ‘crus’ Sori San Lorenzo, Sori Tildin, Costa Russi, Conteisa, and Sperss, for which the temperature during fermentation is lowered to 64?F (18?C) after the first week. All of the wines undergo malolactic fermentation in barrique. The wines then age one year in barrique and a second year in cask. For his Darmagi Gaja employs a shorter fermentation lasting 10-15 days. The wine sees 6-8 months in barrique followed by one year in large oak casks. Antonio Galloni, In the Cellar # G7.
The Wine AdvocateScore: 95/100
The 1999 Sperss, from Serralunga d’Alba, is logically more backward than the Conteisa, a blast of tar, licorice, and chocolate on the nose, opulent, dense, very firm and structured on the palate, mouthfilling and chewy in texture, and in need of time. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025. Oct 2003, www.robertparker.com
Daniel ThomasesScore: 94/100