Monday, March 4, 2013

An exciting lineup from G.D. Vajra

By Eric Guido

We all have our favorites and those favorites tend to change with time. For the longest time I would count myself among those that followed anything made by Vietti and to this day, I buy a number of their wines each year. However, recently, I have found a deep love for the wines of G.D. Vajra.

It all started at a tasting two years ago, where I was lucky enough to taste through the entire lineup. What stood out the most was the outstanding quality of the affordable Nebbiolo, the stunning and sexy tones of the Barbera and the purity of their single vineyard Barolo. Then the 2007 vintage of Barolo hit and the Vajra Bricco Delle Viole ended up as my top Baroli of the vintage. When I started to look back upon my tasting notes and scores, it became apparent that Vajra was a producer that I would have to follow.

So what makes Bricco delle Viole such an amazing wine? For one thing, in this world of an ever-expanding topic of global warming, Bricco delle Viole remains one of the highest elevation vineyards for all of Barolo. So as the average 2007 Baroli might have seemed over-ripe and concentrated, Vajra’s Barolo was in perfect balance. On a larger scale, when I think of the older wines I love and what they may have tasted like in their youth, Vajra is the closest to what I would guess these wines tasted like in their youth.

In the end, it’s just one man’s opinion, yet I full-heartedly believe that G.D. Vajra may be one of the top producers to watch in all of Piedmonte. I know their wines will fill my cellar.

On to the Tasting Notes:

2010 G.D. Vajra Langhe Bianco - The nose was clean, coming more to life as the wine warmed in the glass, showing nectarine, spicy floral notes, minerals, and almond skins. On the palate, it was crisp with ripe, yet focused peach and inner floral tones. A note of grapefruit and green apple lingered through the finish. (89 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

This being my first experience with a Riesling from Piedmont, I will say that I was very impressed. It may not be a blockbuster but it certainly showed a lot of potential. The style was more Alsace than Germany and great with a plate of mixed Wurst and Sauerkraut.

2011 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba - The nose was earthy and floral with dark, mixed berry notes, hints of mountain herbs and chalky minerals. On the palate it was light to medium bodied with juicy acidity as notes of blackberry, with an herbal quality framed silky tannins that lasted through the long finish. (90 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

I really enjoyed this value oriented wine with tons of character. When it was first opened, at cellar temp, it was easy drinking and great with dinner. However, as it rose to room temperature, this easy drinking beauty gained weight and lots of dark Dolcetto character. Plus, with it's firm structure making an appearance on the palate, I have to wonder what this wine may become with another year in the cellar.

2009 G.D. Vajra Barbera d'Alba Superiore - The nose was intense and sexy with black cherry, woodland notes, dark chocolate, floral tones and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, it was rich yet perfectly juicy, showing notes of blackberry jam, sweet spices, tart cherry juice and cola with hint of tannin clinging to senses. The finish was long with concentrate ripe berry fruit coating the palate, along with well polished tannin that seemed to linger for over thirty seconds. (93 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

This may be a full-throtle, in your face Barbera but it stays juicy throughout with such beautiful fruit and structure that I just wanted to pour glass after glass.

2010 G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo - The nose showed intense raspberry, red floral tones, tar, animal musk, undergrowth and dark chocolate. On the palate it was medium-bodied with concentrated, tart cherry fruit, tobacco and leather. The finish was long with dry, red berries and grainy tannin that coated the palate. This is a little painfully to drink now but should be marvelous in a few years time. (92 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

I have to note, that after three days of being open, this wine continued to show amazing fruit and purity with no signs of deterioration. It's a beautiful Nebbiolo that will find a place in my cellar.

2008 G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe - The nose showed ripe cherry, floral and tobacco notes with hints of herbs and cedar. On the palate, it was youthful yet still enjoyable with red berry fruits, licorice, and dark savory tones on a medium body showing excellent balance. The finish lingered for over a minute as ripe berry fruit slowly melted away from the palate to reveal a layer of fine tannin. (93 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

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