Saw the video by Isi Vaira the other day of the first of their harvest, the Riesling, so thought I’d try:
G.D.Vajra Riesling Petracine Dd’OC: Langhe (13%; L 16 19; www.GDVajra.It) Barolo 2018: Light gold color; strong floral/R/mango some mineral/chalky very slight herbal/thyme rather fragrant nose; quite tart/tangy/bit steely rather floral/R/mango/carnations bit chalky/mineral slight herbal perfumed flavor; very long/lingering bit tangy/tart strong floral/R/mango/carnations some mineral/chalky/perfumed talc finish; some like a Bedrock EnzVnyd R but more minerality; speaks definitely of R; has the perfume of Arneis and the stony minerality of Cortese; quite an attractive expression of R. $34.50 (KK)
A wee BloodyPulpit:
Riesling was pioneered in the Langhe by AldoVaira in 1985. The Riesling clones come from Geisenheim, Alsace, and the Platinate.
Spelling: The label & their Website spell it Vajra. But the principal’s names spell it Vaira.
Germano (imported by our own Oliver McCrum) also makes an excellent riesling. (Notes on his 2015 from 2016.) Germano’s vines are in the Alta Langhe, at higher altitudes than Barolo and Barbaresco (500-550 meters). Vajra’s are in the Fossati cru in Barolo and in Sinio, just outside the Barolo DOC at the other end of it, near Serralunga.
The J is used in place of an I or GLI in Piemontese dialect, e.g., the Barbaresco vineyard Rabajà and tajarin, dialect for the sumptuous local, super-eggy tagliarini. Lots of producers there preserve the dialect in their vineyard and other names. E.g., bric (ridge) in dialect = bricco in Italian. Albe, Vajra’s entry-level Barolo, takes its name from the dialect word for sun rise.
I’ll second John here. It’s well worth it. My wife and I tasted it at Vajra one afternoon a few years ago and ordered another bottle of it at Osteria Veglio that night because we were so impressed. It’s a stellar wine.
I think, at $35, you can better Riesling from Germany or Austria, so David probably has a point. But it’s grown on primo real estate and I don’t mind paying more for this very unique expression of Riesling.
I totally recommend Vajra and Germano Rieslings. They are both dry Riesling winemakers and are very true to the grape. I visited both of them last year and got to do mini-vertical tastings. Spectacular family and wine making histories in the region. These Rieslings are not big productions and the local/Italian/European market consumes a significant portion. They are worth the money. I think of their Riesling as Italian GG.
What is your experience with how well these last and develop over time? I had the 2015 recently and wasn’t super impressed, but all I see are good notes - not sure if 5 years is already on the downslope for these or if I just had a less than pristine bottle.
I drink a lot of Germano’s Riesling, usually over the first 5 years or so, but I’ve had ten year old examples and I thought they were very good. The vineyard was only planted 15 years ago and the current vintages have a lot more stuffing than the first few did (as one would expect). 550 meters of altitude makes a difference, Germano used to grow Riesling in Serralunga but this is clearly better, more structure and finer aroma.