2018 G.D. Vajra, Langhe Rosso, Piedmonte, Italy.
After a week of splurges at home for wine, I needed to just enjoy an everyday wine and this Langhe Rosso by Giuseppe Vajra fit the bill and exceeded even my high expectations, it was a perfect Tuesday night red and wonderfully enjoyable with a light meal. For those that follow my website will have heard of Vajra, I’ve been a fan since Giuseppe’s 2008 Bricco delle Viole Barolo blew my mind, and now Vajra gets mentioned in some pretty elite company for his fantastic collection of Barolo crus, under his family’s G.D. Vajra label as well as the Luigi Baudana label, they are some of the most thrilling Nebbiolos available. That said, Vajra is not a one trick pony, and I love his alternative wines, especially his absolutely awesome dry Riesling, which I enjoy almost as much as his Barolo, as well as the Vajra Dolcetto, Barbera and the Kye Freisa. Vajra’s Langhe Rosso blend is primarily the classic varietals Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Barbera, but also has an interesting addition of Albarossa, Freisa and even a touch of Pinot Noir all of which makes for a unique Piedmonte red that shows silky tannins, tangy vibrant fruits including brandied cherries, plum, cranberry, grilled citrus (Moro orange) and tart red currant along with wild herbs, delicate rustic notes, floral elements, mineral and savory spices.
Giuseppe Vajra continues the traditions of his father Aldo, who was a big advocate for organic and holistic farming and promoted a sense of lightness in the wines always searching out vineyard sites thought to be too cold and too high up to ripen, but as history shows he was spot on and Vajra’s high elevation Barolo is one of the most prized wines in the world. The Vajra Rosso is mostly all stainless steel fermented with each lot and varietal done separately and blended before an early bottling to preserve fresh brightness, which this dark ruby/blue hued 2018 shows with lovely transparent clarity. This 2018 opens up nicely with air adding pipe tobacco, black tea, cola bean and dried rose petals, but the minty zesty tartness remains until the finish, in fact it is really nice with a bit of chill and with a picnic spread and or pasta dishes. The 2017 vintage was very warm and the wines are a bit bigger and fruit driven, with these 2018 shows a little more finesse and acidity, which shows through in this Langhe Rosso, it is wine to enjoy now and often, it has a hand crafted feel, but has no pretense, it is easy and delicious. For those looking for value with want this one, no question, but if you want to stay varietal pure, I highly recommend Vajra’s Dolcello, Barbera and Nebbiolo bottlings, there’s quality, value and grace throughout the lineup here.
($18 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive