G.D. Vajra "Claré J.C." 2020
Hold on to your hats for a genre-busting, throwback Nebbiolo from G.D. Vajra, one of the most respected houses in Barolo.
Inspired by a musing jotted down in 1606 by a jeweler named Gian Battista Croce, this is a light and fresh Nebbiolo that's not quite red, not quite rosé. Vajra’s aim is to recreate a style made by their ancestors centuries ago. Before science revealed the secrets of yeast enzyme activity and pre-global warming cooler climes, wines would often not fully ferment into the deep, dark reds we think of today. Vajra breathes new life into an old recipe with this wonderful chillable Nebbiolo.
They ferment the wine quickly in stainless steel then quickly bottle, thereby retaining all the fresh and youthful, just-off-the-press traits of the Nebbiolo grape. Pretty pink and red floral notes dominate this lithe, fresh wine with candied raspberry, pomegranate, cherry juice, orange peel, and red licorice. A little spice, lots of round fruit, and a fresh, clean finish make this an ideal companion for fried chicken, spicy peanut Pad Thai, charcuterie, or grilled skewers. Robert Parker says in his 93-point review, “It's hard to imagine such a young wine tasting so good at this unbelievable price.”
Aldo Vaira, the founder of the estate, grew up in nearby Torino in the turbulent 1960s, a period which saw student uprisings and mass protests – not unlike the countercultural revolution of 1960s America. His father, perhaps more conservative than his son, took note of the burgeoning movement and decided to send his son to Barolo, considered the “backwoods” of Piedmont by the urbane Turini, to work on the family farm growing grapes. He ended up enthralled with winemaking and in 1972 formally founded what would become known as the Vajra estate.
Today, they’re known for being one of the most respected established houses in the Langhe, crafting not only world-class Barolo, iconic white, rosé, and this amazing, affordable wine that echoes centuries’ worth of heritage and makes for what might be this season's perfect summer sipper!