Our Barolo visit was to GD Vajra. Miriam was our guide, and she did a lovely job of telling us the story of the winery, assisted by Milena, wife of founder Aldo, and son Guiseppe, both of whom were in the thick of harvest (“in the kitchen rather than the dining room”).
Aldo was born in Barolo but moved to Turin with his parents as a child. He returned to work on his grandfather’s vineyard as a teenager and found his vocation, studying winemaking, meeting Milena, and creating a stunning winery with stained glass windows and a humidity controlled barrel cellar in the commune of Barolo.
The family grow vines in the West and East of Barolo region. In the West are the vineyards bought from Luigi Baudana, whose name is still honoured on the wines made from these vines.
While some of the Nebbiolo vines are nearly 70 years old, the family have experimented with new varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Aldo has a particular fascination for Riesling.
We gathered in a circle in the tasting room to sample five wines:
Langhe bianco Dragon 2016 13.5% , a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Nas-cëtto (and in some years Riesling) selected and blended to achieve a lovely style: a delicate floral nose, and an amazing palate, full of flavour and good acidity. From the Luigi Baudana vineyards.
Langhe Nebbiolo 2016, only bottled 2 weeks ago, but very approachable with high acidity and good fruit in balance with ripe tannin.
Barolo Albe 2013 made from grapes from three vineyards at different altitudes, which catch the sun st different stages in the morning (Albe means sunrise). Miriam explained that the Magnesium in soils in the West of Barolo make for more feminine wines, while the Manganese in the East creates more masculine wines.
This had spent 30 months in oak and had a beautiful perfumed vegetal nose, and a label designed by the same priest who designed the stained glass windows!
On the palate it was altogether bigger and more complex than the wines we had tried so far. Tim explained that the tannic structure is much bigger in Barolo than Barbaresco.
Next was the Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2014 made from grapes selected from their two oldest vineyards, with 18 months in wood. This was very lively with loads of fruit, good tannin and lots going on.
We finished with a lovely Moscato D’Asti 2016 and some of us stayed awake in the short coach journey back to Alba. That evening a few of us could just manage a plate of salad and a glass of wine, well two glasses as the wine bar did some very good Barolo by the glass!