2017 G.D. Vajra, Barbera d’Alba Superiore, DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
The jet black and purple hued Vajra Barbera d’Alba Superiore is a full bodied and luxurious wine with ultra supple tannin and creamy length that highlight the warmth of the vintage in 2017 and making for an exotic version of this wine with crushed blackberries, sweet plum, fig and black cherry pie filling fruits coming through on the smooth and gracious palate. At first big and fruit forward, this 2017 adds some depth and savory tones once the air kicks in and after 20 minutes in gains wonderful complexity and completes the transition into a much more serious and balanced wine with hints of mineral, anise, crushed violets and a mix of spice and herbs all putting in appearances and the acidity emerges to brighten things up, this change in the glass make this beautiful wine even more compelling. Vajra taking what nature gave, masterfully guided this Barbera to bottle and spotlighted the best features of the year, the terroir and the grape, again proving they are one of the best wineries in the region. The sites Vajra uses for their Barbera Superiore, 100% Barbera, are at higher elevation, set on marl and sand and late ripening with as the winery note have very thick skins which require extra time on the vine to fully develop their character.
The Vajra’s Barbera d’Alba Superiore, an outstanding example, comes from old vines, some dating back to 1949, with low yielding estate vineyards from Bricco delle Viole, a great Barolo Cru and Bricco Bertone providing the grapes. Made from carefully sorted and 100% de-stemmed grapes that was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats with a rather long 30 to 40 days maceration, then this Barbera d’Alba DOC Superiore saw up to two years in large Slavonian oak casks. prior to release, plus, Vajra rests it a few more months in bottle to make sure the wine is fully integrated at release. This is an opulent edition of this wine and it deserves center piece attention at the table with extra care to get the best out of it, which should include some hearty country style cuisine, it is well suited for lamb, grilled meats and or sausages. This 2017 took awhile to get going, but once fully awake it delivered a fine performance with a range of dark flavors and delicate earthy notes with just a touch of cedary wood influence. There is so much to admire in Vajra’s collection, especially with their gorgeous Barolo offerings, it sometimes is easy to overlook their Barbera and Dolcetto bottlings, but they should not be missed, neither should you ever pass up the chance to have their Riesling, one of the best in Italy and their Freisa, a rare red Piedmonte grape that is absolutely delicious.
($32 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive