2019 G.D. Vajra, Barbera d’Alba DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
I love these varietal regional bottlings from Vajra, especially their Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and this beautiful Barbera d’Alba DOC, with this 2019 vintage delivering a deep color and rich flavors with a purple/garnet hue and a dense core of blackberry, currant and cherry fruits along with hints of Asian spices, anise, mineral tones, savory and snappy herbs and a light loamy earthy note. This vintage has a lovely mouth feel and texture as well as a fresh core of acidity that keeps things nicely vibrant, crisply dry and focused, making for a delicious example of Barbera, showing the grape’s best character and it goes brilliantly with food, as it should and it really over performs for the price. This wine, 100% Barbera, is a blend of all organic fruit from estate vineyards growing on a wide range of terroirs with classic marl limestone, clay and sandy soils. The Vajra’s, pioneers of sustainable, organic and holistic farming in Piedmonte, promote, as they say, the biodiversity of both flora and fauna, not just in their vineyards, but also on the winery grounds and the near by forests.

The Vajra’s Barbera d’Alba, which is an outstanding example, is sourced from a selection of estate vines, some of which date back to 1949, with some coming from Bricco delle Viole, the Vajra’s great Barolo Cru and Bricco Bertone, providing this wine with concentration and a prestigious sense of place. Many of these vineyard sites are at higher and cooler elevations that allows for long hang time, that adds to the depth and charm found in this wine. Made from carefully sorted and 100% de-stemmed grapes that was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats with 20 days of maceration, then this Barbera d’Alba DOC saw 12 months on the lees. Prior to release Vajra rests it a few more months in bottle to make sure the wine is fully integrated and harmonious at release. Vajra uses gentle punch downs and, explaining that they rinse he cap for longer periods of time, in order to capture all the fragrance of the grapes, with this bottling going through malolactic fermentation and aging exclusively in stainless steel, that promotes clarity and purity of this Barbera. The recent releases from Vajra are outstanding, of course led by their fantastic Barolo offerings, but even their basic stuff, like this Barbera, is tasty and very rewarding.
($22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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