Gaja 2009: Conteisa & Sperss

Gaja Releases 2009 Conteisa and Sperss

If any evidence were needed that 2009 can be an excellent vintage in Barolo, then Gaja's Conteisa and Sperss are two reliable witnesses. It was a constantly warm and dry season, but without the extreme temperatures of 2003 and 2000. This did not always make for plain-sailing as water stress and blocked maturity was a problem in several vineyards, meaning this is not necessarily a consistent vintage. Despite this, though, attentive vineyard management and patience were rewarded with fine ripe, healthy grapes and many delicious, seductive wines have resulted. In general the wines have a less over-ripe or baked profile than the 2000s or 2003s, the tannins are dense and present yet this is often balanced out by an overwhelming sweetness and generosity of fruit. So despite their power the wines are much easier to taste than other tannic vintages such as the higher acid and more astringent 2006 and 1996. Gaja, among many other producers, consider the best wines of 2009 to be excellent wines for ageing.

These are two great wines from the Barolo area that display a wealth of terroir character alongside typical Gaja polish. Conteisa, which is from the Cerequio vineyard in La Morra, is Piedmontese for “quarrel” and refers back to an historic dispute between the communes of La Morra and Barolo for possession of the Cerequio land. This high vineyard makes for beautifully-scented, soft, rich red fruit characteristics. Sperss is from Serralunga, where the heavier clay and limestone soils dealt particularly well with 2009’s dry conditions. This is one of the most generous, complete and open-knit examples they have made. Both wines are aged for a year in barriques and a year in large oak botti.

The wines are offered in bond and will be shipped in autumn 2013.