G.D Vajra Experience
The first time I tasted a wine from the Italian wine producer Vajra (pronounced vī - rah) it was their Langhe Rosso (a blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, and a few others); it was love at first sip. It was aromatically full and beautiful - loads of red fruit, with intriguing flowers and spice. The palate was round, full of flavor but had balance and freshness. And, the price was well under $20 a bottle. The only problem was its scarcity. At the time, it was imported in miniscule quantities, and the few places that received an allocation sold out in the blink of an eye. Nowadays, the wine isn't nearly as hard to get, but still, the quantities are fairly limited. That being said, Vajra wines are perennial favorites that over-perform, with most folks seeking out the new vintages year after year, while stocking up on what they can. Most importantly, the wines of Vajra are gorgeous examples of winemaking with all the classic Piemontese varieties detailed with perfect clarity. If you haven't yet experienced them, I highly recommend exploring one of the sampler packs offered below.
Family Owned and Operated
In 1968 Aldo Vaira, while still at university, essentially took over the family farm in Vergne, a village in the western part of the Barolo commune. One story is that he was sent there as punishment for having contrary views; instead, he found he loved the farm and working with the grapes. He decided to stay. Ahead of his time in the early 70's, he acquired the first organic certification in the region. He made his first vintage with his wife Milena. Since then, he and Milena increased their holdings in and around Barolo and are joined by their sons and daughter Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro. The two generations work side by side but don't always see eye to eye, yet they come together with a passionate determination to make extraordinairy wines year after year. In these times when the majority of wines are produced by enormous corporations with recipes to please wine critics and focus groups, I am drawn to the wineries run by small families who respect the land, tradition, and make glorious wines that tell the story of the vintage.
They have holdings in vineyards in and around the Barolo commune, consisting of about 100 acres. They have some of the highest elevation vineyards in their commune and this translates into full, but energetic and fresh examples of Nebbiolo. Two of the most important vineyards are Bricco delle Viole (Barolo Commune) and Ravera (Novello Commune) which produce deep, complex wines that are aromatic and display a vibrancy and freshness. The Albe (Sunrises) Barolo is a blend of high elevation vineyards that give the winemaker a palatte of flavors and textures to work with to create a most traditionally styled Barolo.
Aldo Vajra, when still a university student, was one of the earliest to adopt organic farming in Piedmont. Vineyards have been nurtured, with grass and native cover crop for nearly 50 years. Vajra is sustainable and organic certified. With an incredible ratio of manual work per acre, farming at Vajra is a labor of love and “recipe-free.” The family is constantly monitoring and improving the biodiversity of both flora and fauna not just in the vineyards, but also in the winery's fields and forests.
In November we will be offering a wide selection of wines from Vajra, all discounted 10% on bottle one. In addition, there are two Exploration Packs for you to try with a deeper discount.
Explore a Four-Pack for the basics, or go deeper with a Six-Pack. Either way, it will be a great wine adventure!
Perennial Piedmont Over-Performer: The Wines of G.D. Vajra 4-Pack Exploration (The Basics)
The 4-Pack contains one each of the following wines.
Vajra, G.D. 2018 Langhe Rosso
Primarily Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. Red and Black cherry fruit aromas. This red blend from Piedmont is usually one of the best values in Italy and perhaps the world. This vintage knocks it out of the park. Beautifully ripe but balanced. Organic.
Vajra, G.D. 2019 Dolcetto d'Alba
100% Dolcetto. Mulberry, dark cherry, plum, spice, thyme, and white pepper are the aromatic notes for this food friendly wine. There is something so simple and basic and good about Dolcetto, made by a great grower, that elevates the simple to the immensely enjoyable category. The wine is aged exclusively in stainless steel to lock in the fresh fruit flavors and aromas. Organic.
Vajra, G.D. 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo
100% Nebbiolo. Cherries and plums, red berries and baked plum, along with rose petals, spice, orange peel, and a subtle minty-ness. 2018 was a long steady growing season that produce remarkable fruit. The wine was aged in stainless steel, but small batches saw some neutral oak. A fresh and vibrant wine that is ready to drink, but will certainly evolve over the next 2-5 years. Organic.
Vajra, G.D. 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo Claré JC
100% Nebbiolo. Raspberries, cherries, pomegranate, orange blossom and spices. This slightly unusual wine is the brainchild of Guiseppe Vaira; with research and a bit of fancy he has tried to make a wine in the style of his ancestors of the 1800's. A lighter more easy drinking red that sits somewhere between a rosé and a full red wine, a bit like Beaujolais. The palate is light and fresh, with gentle tannins and lively acidity. The wine finishes just off-dry and don't be afraid to give this a chill before serving on a warm day. Exceptionally delicious! Organic.
Perennial Piedmont Over-Performer: The Wines of G.D. Vajra 6-Pack Exploration (Go Deeper)
The 6-Pack contains one each of the above 4-Pack, plus one each of the following wines.
Vajra, G.D. 2017 Barbera d'Alba Superiore
100% Barbera. Plums, cherries, black raspberry, red raspberry, and black currant. The layers of flavor and complexity in this wine are astounding. Aged in Slavonian oak for about two years, this full-bodied Barbera is something special and age worthy. The grapes come from two of Vajra's best vineyards, Bricco delle Viole and Bricco Bertone planted in 1949 by Aldo's great-grandfather. Just outstanding! Organic.
Vajra, G.D. 2016 Barolo Albe
100% Nebbiolo. Classic aromas of dark cherry, cranberry, rose petal, tobacco, spices, and tar. Made in the traditional style, blending high elevation vineyards and aging in Slavonian oak for 30 months, to create the perfect expression of Barolo. Velvety tannins and beautiful freshness on the palate.The wines from Vajra have been outstanding for a long time but they seem to get better and better. In a great vintage like 2016 the wines are phenomenal! Drinkable now, but will get better if cellared for a few years. Organic.